Increasing numbers of homeowners and renters are placing a high priority on having a spacious workspace within their properties. A white paper from Property Market indicates that this trend has intensified post-Covid. 'Since Covid-19, we've seen a significant shift where all our properties now include one or more workspaces, as many continue to work from home,' explained Nina Klishevich, General Manager of Dubai at Blueground, a provider of furnished, flexible midterm rentals. This shift is also being observed by other real estate professionals. 'The Covid-19 crisis accelerated the move towards remote work, making home offices more important,' noted Adham Younis, CEO of D and B properties. 'Though relatively new, the concept of home offices is expected to significantly impact property values.' He highlighted that this trend gained momentum, especially after Dubai attracted global talent during the pandemic. 'These individuals seek living spaces that meet their work needs, beyond just a small corner in the house,' he added. 'This has altered preferences in the property market, emphasizing the increasing importance of home office spaces, particularly among younger demographics.'

Industry experts report that several property developers are responding to this trend by modifying their existing plans to include home offices. 'Major developers are recognizing the potential interest in home offices,' stated Paul Kelly, Operations Director at Allsopp & Allsopp group. 'While not a top priority for all, developers like Majid Al Futtaim have observed this trend and have redesigned villa layouts in phases 2 and 3 of their Tilal Al Ghaf project, Harmony, to feature larger study and office spaces.' Another development that has integrated this demand is the 25hours Heimat by East & West Properties. 'This residential project includes home offices in its apartment designs,' said Adham. 'With workstations and communal areas within the building, this integration allows residents to easily balance work and leisure.' Real estate agent Shabna Ibrahim mentioned that many developers are now incorporating what the industry refers to as the '0.5 trend' in their properties. 'This refers to a half-bedroom, which is too small to be a bedroom and lacks an attached bathroom, but can be easily converted into a home office or study. It has become more popular since the pandemic,' she explained.

Although home offices are gaining popularity, Paul noted that they are not yet a 'deal-breaker' for clients. 'While a dedicated home office is rarely a deal breaker, some clients look for a well-equipped study or office area if it suits their preferences,' he said. 'This could be a small, separate room or a designated area within a larger room.' He also mentioned that residents are increasingly choosing the 'urban village' concept. 'Many are seeking homes with open floor plans and seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces, preferring spacious properties,' he said. 'This aligns with the concept of urban villages, which integrate work, leisure, and essential services in close proximity.' Adham added that this shift in priorities since the pandemic is due to more people spending time indoors and prioritizing personal spaces. 'There has been a growing emphasis on properties that offer ample outdoor areas like gardens and terraces,' he said. 'These outdoor spaces have become highly desirable as they offer residents opportunities for fresh air, relaxation, and recreation.'