Welcome to the Future: A Smart Home for the Remote Worker

Years ago, remote work was a concept only applicable to trendy startups. Big corporations that were decades old and employ hundreds of people were not allowing their workers to work from home.

The New Normal is Remote Work

However, because of the pandemic, remote work entered the vocabulary and became the new normal across the entire population. Workers realized that there was no need to go to an office. They can perform their task as efficiently — or maybe more — from the comforts and safety of their own homes.

That created a movement. More people are asking that they be permitted to work from home, even for a few days during the week. The biggest companies in the world responded favorably. Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Dropbox, Slack, and others are giving their workers the option to work from home at least a few times per week.

For employees, it meant greater work satisfaction and better home-work balance. They no longer have to spend hours commuting. They get more free time to spend on hobbies and loved ones.

Companies, on the other hand, embrace remote work for savings. When Sun Microsystems adopted remote work in 2007, the company saved more than $68 million.

The shift toward remote work will not just change the business landscape and the labor force. It will also cause major transformations to homebuilding. Nowadays, homeowners are asking for dedicated workspaces.

A Smart Home for the Remote Worker

However, there are other residential trends that will shape the way people live. Before COVID-19, home automation was already becoming the new normal. More households are using smart home appliances that can connect to the internet, gather relevant data, and provide safety and convenience to homeowners.

Automation can better provide an ideal working space for people who work from home.

People are getting used to controlling their homes via a smartphone, a tablet, or a voice assistant. This can become useful for remote workers, enabling them to focus on their work.

Ideally, the transfer of data between smart devices should be seamless and intuitive. Imagine a smart home that will detect that you are in between meetings, and ask you if you want to order a meal for lunch. It can act as a real assistant that can make purchases, place phone calls, and adjust the settings of all the devices in your home on your behalf to ensure that you are comfortable.

man working on computer with pizza

Challenges Ahead

However, the work-from-home setup presents a few challenges. Homeowners need to consider the increased consumption of electricity with the addition of smart devices that all need to be plugged in to be powered. The work from home setup also will use more electricity. Homeowners should talk to a handyman to see if enough power is wired for all the devices being used at home.

There is also now a need to track power usage. Many employers are promising to reimburse employees for the electricity they use to do their work at home. There are places that are already drafting rules to force employers to pay the expenses of their employees who work from home.

Employees will see money savings from working from home. There will no longer be a need to spend on commuting every day. However, they will be seeing their utility bills rise. They will need to plug their personal computers in and will use air conditioning or heater, lights, and other electronic appliances at home.

This can become commonplace. Homeowners need a way to track how much electricity is being used for work and separate it from the electricity consumed by the household. In the future, there might be dedicated devices that will track power usage during office hours.

Moreover, the demand for connectivity across many households will also increase. The broadband usage of households that already have smart home appliances has doubled in the past five years. As more people acquire smart home devices, the demand will only increase. Add the increased need for connectivity due to remote work, and household demand for broadband will only go up.

ISPs can take advantage of this by offering remote workers a network and infrastructure that will address all their needs to work from home efficiently. The home office network should be separated from the household. That way, the bandwidth would not be split between the household and home office.

There are two trends that are reshaping how homes are used and designed: remote work and automation. Many households already have smart home appliances. Because of the pandemic, many workers are also working from home permanently. Automation can aid remote workers, and provide the ideal space for work.

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