For many, being able to work from home is the dream. Business owners and freelancers tend to front the movement, but more and more employers are catching on to the benefits of letting staff work from the comfort of their own homes. Around 1.54 million people work from home in the UK and the concept of live-work homes has become a natural evolution as this number has grown.
However, live-work homes are not a new concept. Back in the 1990s, the London Borough of Hackney saw the local council encourage the regeneration of industrial spaces. However, the local authority was not confident in transforming these buildings into solely residential dwellings. To hurdle this conflict, the structures were developed into live-work spaces, conceiving a new type of lifestyle aimed towards professionals in the city.
What is a live-work home?
Most live-work homes are edgy properties that have been crafted from edgy architectural plans. They are designed solely for use by those who work predominantly from home. These modern homes vary from the minimalist to the luxurious and are targeted at small business owners and entrepreneurs in major cities, who want a creative space to run their enterprise without having to traipse to an office building.
How do live-work homes function?
It is not uncommon for some independent business owners to live above their retail premises. You will often find shops for sale or to lease with flats attached. Live-work spaces have evolved this concept and taken it beyond just retail businesses. Live-work homes can be of any size, from apartments to duplexes and townhouses. In smaller abodes there is typically a designated workspace, whereas in larger homes entire floors can be dedicated to a business, using the remaining floors for living space. Rooms in properties can be juggled to suit the needs of the business owner and many like to separate work from play.
Disadvantages of live-work spaces
For those who reside in live-work spaces the temptation to work all hours can be too much, resulting in a skewed balance between working and free time. For those who have a family, a business overrunning the home can be a real problem. Creating a clear boundary between living spaces and working spaces is key so that children and other family members don’t feel as if they are living within an organization as opposed to a home.
Advantages of live-work homes
Commuting can be a necessary evil many of us stomach, but live-work homes cut the time and money spent on travelling to zero. Being stuck in traffic jams or enduring train strikes will no longer have an effect on business and productivity can be increased. Furthermore, breaks can be taken at times which suit and there is no need for the daily expense and struggle of queuing in the nearest eatery as the masses descend for lunch.
Developing live-work units
Technology and a shift in working attitude have contributed to an increased need to have a workspace in the home. This change has not gone unnoticed by developers and, along with architects, new-build live-work spaces are appearing in all major UK cities.
Most live-work homes are built with a 30% ratio dedicated to working and the remaining 70% focused upon day to day living. Architects are challenged with the task of creating bespoke buildings that suit the varying needs of homeworkers who want different levels of ‘cut off’ between work and home. There has also been a rise in the number of garden offices being erected.
For buyers of live-work spaces, prices tend to fall 15% lower than an equivalent ‘normal’ property of the same size. However, it is typical for different live-work complexes to have different rules – it is unlikely that anybody could purchase a space of this nature without evidence that it will truly be used for working. However, as the phenomenon is still in its infant stages, regulations are still vague and not set in stone across all live-work homes.