Monday, June 9, 2008

The Office, Housebroken

New York Times: It was not so long ago, Neal Zimmerman recalls, that the term home office meant something very different from what it does today.

In the early 90s, when Zimmerman, a prominent workplace architect with offices in West Hartford, Conn., started designing residential work spaces, most people thought home office meant the headquarters of a company. Back then, the very idea of working at home had a certain stigma, except in a few vocations like freelance writing. In the popular imagination, he said, people who worked from home were usually laid off or couldn't hold down a job, or were peripheral to the work force. But by 2006, according to data collected by the Dieringer Research Group, a marketing research company in Brookfield, Wis., more than 28 million Americans were working from home at least part time ”an increase of 10 percent from just the year before, and 40 percent from 2002.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance reports that 7 in 10 Americans now have offices or designated workstations in their homes, a 112 percent increase since 2000, and a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that home offices ranked as the fourth most important feature in a new upscale home, just ahead of security.

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