Re-imagining home spaces: Singapore’s work-from-home edit

Occupants’ home space needs have changed due to hybrid working, but to what extent?

November 29, 2022

As the era of hybrid working emerges, accelerated in part by lockdowns imposed worldwide during the start of the pandemic in early 2020, more employees are using their homes as a secondary place of work. Traditionally seen as a place to recuperate, unwind, and spend time with your family, homes are now evolving to cater to an additional use: work from home (WFH).

However, as offices reopen worldwide, hybrid working will likely remain predominant in Singapore. The government’s Tripartite Statement encourages employers to provide and promote permanent Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) to their employees. Now the question is about whether current homes effectively and adequately address WFH needs, and if not, what are the “building blocks” for an ideal WFH setup?

JLL’s Singapore research conducted a home space survey to take a deep-dive into the topic. The survey involved more than 300 owner-occupiers and tenants (renting the whole unit) for gathering the necessary data and key insights into how WFH has affected home space needs in Singapore. The survey explored and analysed how current home settings support WFH, including common shortfalls and the wish list of occupants when envisioning the perfect WFH setup.

Interestingly, most respondents found their existing homes adequately catering to their WFH requirements and were satisfied. On the other hand, those dissatisfied with their current home settings helped establish some common themes. For instance, more space may be necessary for an ideal WFH setup, but it is not the sole requirement. Sensory distractions also prove highly disruptive to conducting work requiring focus or attending meetings from home. The concept of work pods could be helpful in such situations, and the government’s effort to make work pods conveniently accessible to public housing residents is underway.

Accordingly, both public and private sectors are taking initiatives to address the evolution of home space needs. One example is the government’s intention to explore various flexible space layouts for future public flats, resulting from residents’ desire for greater space flexibility at home to support different needs.

Do keep a lookout for our whitepaper, “Future-proofing homes to support hybrid working”, which is slated for publication by end-2022. The whitepaper provides key findings of the survey and offers some valuable insights to key industry players in the residential market on readying your homes and investments to address future needs.