A quiet room, a massive desk, a picture-perfect view: one of these items might be on your list of must-haves for remote work…or maybe not. The truth is that when it comes to working from home, we’re all different. And our spaces have to be as well.
Still, we were curious. What would an architect have to say about spaces for work at home? Are there any absolutes when it comes to planning for the new normal? We sat down with the team from INNOV.ARQ, the architects behind our new-build communities Las Orquídeas and Las Acacias at La Manga Club, and asked them about the responsibility of architecture in this dynamic context.
Do you think that remote work will influence architecture and interior design over the coming years?
Absolutely. Architecture advances in line with society’s needs and changes in people’s ways of life.
For example, you can look at the number of bedrooms offered in houses for sale. In the 1970s and 1980s, most apartments had 4 or 5 bedrooms, whereas until recently most were being offered with 2 or 3. This difference is directly related to the number of people in the typical nuclear family, which has gone down over time.
The same is happening with remote work. Somehow, a new way of life has insinuated itself into society, and it’s the responsibility of architecture to offer responses and solutions for this new way of using the home. Dividing spaces into zones, functionality, and comfort will all be priorities in new design.
How can you adapt existing spaces for remote work?
Fortunately, it’s not hard. Here at La Manga Club, for instance, we have two projects that were designed before this massive imposition of remote work, but they have intrinsic characteristics that make them great for working from home: amazing light, great ventilation, ample spaces. Working from this foundation, you can then complement natural light with artificial light that is either white or neutral, and angled appropriately. You can separate the work area from the resting or leisure areas. The spaces are flexible and can be converted with changes in furniture and organization or separation of spaces.
These changes have to fit the people that use them. Some people like to turn a bedroom into a closed office, while others prefer to make a work area within the open living and dining area. In one of the homes planned at Las Acacias, the owners have requested that the entire first floor be converted into a work zone. It’s completely independent from the rest of the home during the work day, without being disconnected from it. This floor has the best light conditions, using a combination of natural and artificial light, as well as views of the golf courses and the mountains, and a large outdoor terrace perfect for stretching your legs and taking the work breaks you need during the day.
Speaking of breaks, can remote work be combined with leisure?
It can and it should. One of the maxims for achieving success in telework is that the worker has to feel good. Daily routines should be maintained, and leisure is an intrinsic part of any healthy daily routine. Activities that help us disconnect have a direct relationship with our work productivity.
In that sense, La Manga Club is the perfect place to live and work, because it offers an infinite number of activities to help clear the mind: golf, tennis, cricket, gyms, bars, restaurants. And above all, peace and calm.