Once upon a time, we chose our homes because they were handy for work or close to the transport that would take us there. It didn’t matter if where we lived was less than perfect: work, after all, was where we spent most of our time. But with the dawn of flexible working, all that has changed. Now we can buy a home because we love it – and more and more of us are doing just that.
By flexible working I mean working fully or partly from home, which, with the availability of technology (faster broadband, Skype, Facetime, video conferencing, and so on), is now top of the agenda for many employees and their organisations. As an increasing number of us spends more time at home, it has made where we live – not just the property itself, but also the environment in which it is set – more important than ever before.
Research by the charity Working Families and others has found that flexible working has led to greater job and life satisfaction, less stress and higher productivity at work. It has also opened up the prospect of people being able to move to a part of a large city or rural area more remote from their workplace, to find a locale and community they really want to settle into.
This is happening as we speak. The millennials, who have been brought up in the ICT connectivity era, who want to work hard but also to have a happy family life, are increasingly looking for employers who understand and value the concerns of their staff in terms of work-life balance. The home will therefore become the focal point for work and the family.
The older generations are also interested in more flexible working, but will have to learn how to work more from home in terms of managing the technology, their time, organising their day, keeping in touch with the central office and moving between home and office working.
The home therefore is no longer a refuge from work, but integrated into it, a place of personal choice rather than its convenience to work. The millennials and the ZGen reflect George Bernard Shaw’s description of the future generations: ‘people are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.’
A side effect of globalisation is that it has changed the way we think about our homes forever.
'Now you can love where you live' is the first in our new series of blogs, A Savills Love Story, inspired by Savills new advertising campaign. Each week, the pre-eminant psychologist, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, will consider how our love stories are changing now that so many of us work from home, and the ways in which we can ensure we all live happily ever after.
As part of our series, we invite you to submit your own Savills Love Story. What made you fall for your home? Was it love at first sight or more of a slow burn? Do you have a 'type' or is your approach to house-buying more pragmatic? Or tell us about your fantasy home – the magical place you've always wanted to live, perhaps inspired by a novel or a fleeting glimpse in a magazine? We will donate £50 to YoungMinds for every story we publish on Savills UK Blog. We'll also make a donation for every story submitted for consideration.