Housing provider encourages developers to keep remote workers and workspace needs in mind when designing new homes
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — Social housing provider Stonewater is considering the introduction of communal Remote Working Hubs to help address a need among homeworkers who are challenged with a lack of adequate workspace.
The initiative was hinted at by Stonewater Customer Experience Director Dave Lockerman during a virtual panel discussing the findings of a Demos report, supported by Stonewater, which focused on the experiences of lower-income remote workers.
Lockerman outlined that when comparing the experiences of high-income and low-income remote workers, common positives like health, wellbeing and work-life balance emerged; however, a lack of adequate space was cited as one of the major challenges among low-income workers “that actually, if left unchecked, could create a worse experience for lower earners”.
“We heard from customers who were saying that in terms of equipment, their employers weren’t providing equipment,” he noted.
“In terms of space, not having the space for an office chair, not having space for a computer, you’re having to work from your dining room table with your kids interrupting you…”
He added, “We heard from some customers who were saying they’re always having to sofa surf in order to access decent-quality kind of internet.
“So, quite clearly some big issues and challenges that we need to get a hold of that I’d say if left unchecked, could lead to that kind of two-tiered workforce.”
Strategy to provide adequate workspace for homeworkers
But Director Lockerman also addressed Stonewater’s “strategy for new ways of working” through possibly “harnessing the Remote Working Hubs, which actually [is] using kind of underused community space and setting up hubs”.
He explained that this strategy would address some of the major challenges identified in the Demos report, including adequate workspace, access to necessary equipment, and even feelings of isolation.
Additionally, he suggested that developers can take a leaf from his organisation’s book by beginning to design homes with remote workers in mind, considering the flexible working model seems to be here to stay going into the future.
“We at Stonewater are already including kind of working space in the design of our new homes, but that’s in the design of our homes…” Lockerman said.
“So, there’s definitely opportunities there for developers to consider this. Clearly this is the way that society’s going and there is a real need for it in terms of designing new homes.”
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Demos report “Inside Jobs: The Experience of Low-Paid Homeworkers in Britain Today” - https://www.stonewater.org/media/5769/inside-jobs-dec-2021.pdf