Builders Rework Floor Plans to Spotlight Home Offices

August 7, 2020

As more people work from home, the home office has gained prominence amid the COVID-19 pandemic. About 40% of Americans are currently working remotely, up from the traditional 5%, Forbes.com reports. Builders are now responding to the need for office space.

National homebuilder KB Home announced semi-customizable home office packages for buyers that fit their personal needs. “At first, people saw the need to work from home as likely to be temporary, but now it’s clearly not a temporary shift,” says Jeff Mezger, chairman, president, and CEO of KB Home. “As many people adjust to working from home permanently, they desire a dedicated, personalized room for their office, and that’s what we have designed into our floor plans.”

The “KB Home Office” package includes numerous features, such as built-in workstations and cabinetry, an upgraded electrical package, ultra-high-speed USB outlets, charging outlets, extra data connection ports, custom lighting, extra windows, soundproofing, and even a beverage center. Buyers can also add a half bath and doors that go directly to the outside from their home office.

KB is rolling out its office package nationwide over the next two months for an extra $2,000 to $3,000. The homebuilder’s average base price is about $400,000.

Builders are reworking their current floor plans to design office spaces that will appeal to buyers. The overall square footage of their floor plans may remain the same, but an interior wall is being tweaked or flex space repurposed to show off an office space. “I expect to see homebuilders as a group start to embrace this cultural shift and do what they can to make life more efficient and more comfortable for people who plan to continue working from home,” Brad Hunter, who consults on real estate trends for Hunter Housing Economics, wrote for Forbes.com.

Home offices likely will remain important for home shoppers moving forward. For example, employers like Twitter and Facebook have announced their workers can work from home permanently. Other companies like Google are giving workers until at least July 2021 to work from home.