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Housing Space Use in the Pandemic and After: The Case for New Design Guidance


Work Home – Housing space use in the pandemic and after. The case for new design guidance. A Workhome Research Project piloting policy-related debate concerning the introduction of dedicated home-working space into housing space standards. With London Metropoliatan University, 2021

‘Inadequate housing reduces opportunities for working class home-based work’

Covid-1­­9 has shone a spotlight on UK housing injustice. Those lucky to have enough space have long accommodated their home-based work through under-occupation – working in a spare bedroom, a disused garage, an under-used dining room, a studio or home office at the bottom of the garden. In May 2020, the UK Office for National Statistics found most middle-class workers to be safely working full time from home in contrast to only one in five working-class workers, resulting in disproportionate illness and death in deprived groups, including communities of colour. Inadequate housing reduces opportunities for working class home-based work, and this is one of the factors driving this inequality. UK housing is the smallest in western Europe; it is increasingly built tight-fit to minimum space standards, with no provision for the demands of home-based work.


Spreads from the report

In this project a secondary analysis of more than 100 case studies of homeworkers, including knowledge workers, craftworkers, service-workers, micro-retailers and creative practitioners amongst others, generated a series of twelve homeworking scenarios. These, beautifully drawn from data collected between 2003-2020, provide quantitative evidence of the spatial needs of homeworking. Funded by the UK Research and Innovation Strategic Priorities Fund, 2020-21, and undertaken with leading sector architects from Levitt Bernstein, Pollard Thomas Edwards, Mae Architects and Karakusevic Carson, this project addresses the urgent need, highlighted by the mainstreaming of home-based work during the pandemic, to amend or supplement UK Nationally Described Space Standards to reflect working from home - and for all new and converted homes to be built with adequate provision. It aims to be both a catalyst for policy debate and a basis for further research.

Workhome Project

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