Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly half the labor force and most students are now working and studying from home. Home is where the family is. Families are upgrading the yard and home to fit the reality that more activity will occur in and around the house for work, for school, and for play.
Should homeowners make significant improvements to the home and the landscape based on the expectation that remote work will be more permanent and temporary? It all depends on the individual’s work situation. However, indications from decision-makers are that the culture of work is changing. While management’s desire for a tightly-knit culture in the workforce has been a priority, it was thought that this camaraderie could only be achieved by having employees together at the office all day every day.
CFO’s are releasing their grip on this notion according to an article in Information Week. “For instance, a new survey of CFOs by Gartner revealed that more CFOs are looking to shift more of their previously on-site employees to remote workers on a permanent basis. A full 74% said they intend to move at least 5% of their on-site workforces to remote positions after the COVID-19 crisis resolves. What’s more, 17% of respondents to the survey said that 20% of those moved to work from home will remain as permanent remote workers after the crisis.”
A possible factor in this shift is the realization that social media and technologies such as Zoom and Facetime have demonstrated that relationships with a strong sense of comradery can be created, sustained, and strengthened virtually.
More Time at the Home Away From Home: The Lake House and Mountain Cottage
Almost half of the American workforce is at home, either laid-off or working remotely from home. Many people who have lake homes or mountain cottages are enjoying a change of pace by working from their second home.
Tips for the Remote Office Retreat
For remote workers and their families who have decided to base at the lake or mountain retreat during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, here are some landscape lighting tips to consider. Safety is the top priority.
Tip #1: Inspect the system if one is already installed at the work retreat.
Take an inventory of damaged fixtures and bulbs that need replacing. Note any exposed wiring. Consider upgrading to low voltage LED lighting if the existing system is halogen lighting. LED is less expensive to operate, and the bulbs last many times longer than halogen. LED lighting is much cooler, so the possibility of fire is greatly reduced. If the existing system is not functional, schedule a maintenance appointment to resolve any immediate issues. Include a design consultation to create a plan to move forward with an upgrade or replacement system.
Tip #2: Consider installing a new LED landscape lighting system tailored to specific needs.
A landscape lighting system makes sense if the remote work retreat will see an uptick in activity. A lighting system will boost curb appeal and make the yard and outdoor living spaces more accessible at night. Work in the cool evenings under the pergola ensconced by retractable mosquito netting and surrounded by a landscape elegantly illuminated.
Tip #3: Make outdoor living spaces safe.
The transition from the urgent urban to the remote retreat needs to address safety concerns, especially if the remote retreat includes e-learning for the children.
- Entrances should be illuminated so that fumbling in the dark for keys or tripping over rugs or planters is avoided.
- Steps should be well-lighted, especially for older adults and younger children.
- Brick or stone walkways, paths with stepping stones, and gravel walks need adequate lighting to prevent tripping and stumbling. Limbs, or worse snakes, may find their way onto the hardscape surface, posing a safety hazard.
Tip #4: Make it safe from the doorway to the dock.
A main priority at the lake house should include being able to safely walk from the door to the dock. The dock also needs to be safely and tastefully illuminated when in use. Having the dock lights on remote can allow for those times when privacy and seclusion are desired.
Tip #5: Allow for adequate overhead lighting.
At times, the entire space between the lake house and the lake may need to be illuminated. Backyard recreation and entertaining at times may require total illumination to safely utilize the space.
More people are and will be working from home in the future. Lake houses and mountain cottages are more frequently being used as remote work retreats as people strive for fewer distractions. LED lighting is an efficient, affordable solution for safety issues. Low voltage lighting is perfect for reclaiming the night for entertainment, recreation, and rest from a hard day at the home office. An experienced and knowledgeable landscape lighting design expert can help homeowners working from home safely reclaim outdoor living and workspaces once the sun has set.
For more information about landscape lighting at the lake house or mountain cottage, visit the Southern Landscape Lighting Systems website at southernlls.com/locations/alpharetta-georgia. To speak with a lighting design consultant, call the office at (770) 691-1221.