Covid-19 has seen millions of people all over the world switch to working from home this year. With that, how much will the demand for home-office space and furniture grow next year? Will multi-functional furniture be popular as people have to make more space for the home office?
“I would argue that it isn’t the furniture that takes precedence, but more on the space. Not everyone has the space for an independent office in their home, so the challenge lies in creating a functional working space instead.
“Multi-functional furniture would be beneficial but the key to a good conducive working environment at home is the space itself, for instance, where do you plan to have the desk and what is it facing, and how would it work with your kids running around. The furniture will come into place once you have determined the required spot, ” says Azlan Syarawi Mokhtar Bajunid, director of Seshandesign.
Wong Pei San, director of Essential Design Integrated, says a home office is always a key area that most custom-built home owners will ask for as they would have reached a stage in life that would require them to have access to work at all times.
“This is also partly due to the availability of faster Internet speed and cloud-based working that allows them to plug in from outside the office. Working from home, rotational working hours and home-based online learning for children are pushing families to adjust to this new norm. Typically, a dining space is now multipurpose, for work, kids’ classes, meals, discussions etc. What is needed are multi-functional rooms, ” says Wong.
Nik Ida Juliana Nik Mohamed, managing director of Ident3, says with so many workers laid off and forced to work from home, more people will either convert a portion of their house into a functioning office setup or move into a more flexible unit where the functions of home and office can be designed and incorporated seamlessly.
“Naturally, this will also increase the need for the next trend of residential urban living – the small office, home office (SOHO). These compact living and working spaces, perfect for the growth of the Malaysian gig economy, will naturally require more flexible and multi-functional furniture and equipment that will increase the efficiency of smaller spaces, ” she says.