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London Property Market 25 August 2015

Rail and Tube strikes make office space top home improvement

Home office space is fast taking over from ensuite or luxury spa bathrooms as the must have home improvement that can add value to a property, and is of particular appeal to those commuting in and around London beset by rail and Tube strikes, according to Chestertons.

A home office capability is very important for corporate employees keen to utilise increased working flexibility, and allows workers to overcome long or difficult commutes, especially when industrial action such as Tube or rail strikes intervene. Home owners can add value by creating dedicated quiet workspace and utilising superfast broadband connections to remotely log on to servers and communicate with colleagues from the comfort of their own home.

Daniel Killick, manager of the Kew branch of Chestertons, the London lettings and estate agency, says: "South West London is increasingly popular for people who want the convenience of leafy green spaces, affordability and that 'village' feel, within easy commute of central London. Putney and Kew are attractive for young professionals and families in particular, and with home working increasingly the norm in the corporate sphere that flexibility opens up new options for people who want a better work/life balance. Increasingly vendors and landlords realise that by creating viable home office space they can attract people with the option of flexible working and who want to be able to stay productive if transport links fail or childcare means the nine-to-five grind just isn't an option. Is office space taking over from the luxury ensuite as the must-have home enhancement? It could well be."

Meanwhile Bradley Bartlett, head of Corporate and Relocation Services at Chestertons, adds: "We organise relocations and source prime lettings for corporate clients, and increasingly our property searches include terms such as 'study' or 'home office', so employers are certainly alive to benefits of ensuring their key people are able to work effectively from home if the need arises.

"With the daily cost to business in London of the recent Tube strikes estimated to be north of £300m, it makes sense for firms to ensure they have proper contingencies in place to make sure productivity isn't too badly hit if the unexpected happens and workers can't make it into the office. We've also noticed an increase in the number of applicants requesting a home office as a requirement. Often these tend to be for searches in Zones 2, 3 and beyond, and for larger family homes. As more corporate staff are being offered flexible working hours as part of their benefits package and with London having a high proportion of employees reliant on public transport for their daily commute, it is clear to see why the home office is become a 'must have' for many."