Recognizing the trend of people working from home during the COVID-19 crisis, KB Home has unveiled plans to build houses with a specially designed office that will be offered in Las Vegas this fall.
The concept is part of KB’s national rollout in what it describes as a personalized solution for working from home at an affordable price. KB said the new office is designed to make working from home easier and more productive.
It will be unveiled in Las Vegas at the Reserves at Inspirada and the Stonegate at Summerlin Collection in September.
A model at each of those communities will be retrofitted to demonstrate the concept to buyers.
The new dedicated room is designed to deliver comfort, function and aesthetics, said Brian Kunec, president and regional general manager of KB’s Las Vegas and Seattle divisions. The homeowner will be able to host online presentations or small in-person meetings and boost their productivity, he said.
The focus by KB Home comes as the pandemic has accelerated the trend of working from home. People have accepted makeshift workstations despite challenges and frustrations because they have viewed them as temporary. Now, as many companies shift to working remotely for the foreseeable future, and for some, perhaps permanently, homeowners are seeking to optimize their work-from-home experience, Kunec said.
The new office design includes a built-in workstation with a counter and cabinet space; large open shelving for displays, books, files and other accessories; and an upgraded electrical package.
“With the modern world we’re in, it includes an upgraded electrical package,” Kunec said. “It has numerous receptacles and ultra-fast USB charging outlets in it and additional data teleport connections to connect your computer and printer equipment.”
Homeowners can take it a step further by choosing additional options at the KB Home Design Studio. That includes technology solutions, enhanced soundproofing and insulation packages, tailored lighting, ceiling fans, window treatments and a beverage center.
And buyers can add a bath, additional windows and a separate outdoor entrance with a private patio, Kunec said.
More companies are moving toward long-term solutions to allow employees to work from home. Some are allowing them to move out of state, and Nevada is hoping to benefit from that trend.
Since the pandemic, many homeowners have switched out a bedroom to make room for an office or used the kitchen area for an office. With children doing online classrooms, that has led to more demand for designated space in the home and need for quiet areas.
“We’re creating a dedicated room to allow it function and work better for them as a home office concept,” Kunec said. “My opinion is even when this pandemic is over and a vaccine is out and everything gets back to normal life, a lot of companies are seeing they don’t need everybody in the office every day. They are getting great productivity out of people working at home because they don’t need all the office space they have. You will see a lot of companies are going to permanently turn to this and save thousands of dollars a year in rent. I see the tech industry being one they can work from everywhere.”
Kunec said KB Home introduces options that are affordable and fits within someone’s budget. It will be priced between $2,000 and $3,000 for the base package, he added.
“A mortgage payment is $7 for every $1,000 in price,” Kunec said. “You’re talking $14 to $21 a month to add this home office.”
Some of the likely add-ons will include soundproofing packages so no one in the household is affected by noise, Kunec said.
Tailored lighting, window treatments and a beverage center are likely to be sought too, he said.
A beverage center is a refrigerator that is part of the cabinetry, and those working in the home office won’t have to go to the kitchen.
“In addition, this isn’t on every floor plan, but in particular ones that make sense, people can add half-baths and additional windows,” Kunec said. “On some floor plans, there’s the ability to include a private patio with an outdoor entrance so someone doesn’t have to go into the rest of the house.”
Currently, KB uses a model by taking a downstairs den, for example, to showcase an office, Kunec said. It’s furnished with a desk and lighting.
“What we will be doing is a home office package that comes with built-in cabinets and built-in workstation,” Kunec said. “Our typical den now is a standard electrical package that you could get by with if you just wanted to turn a den into an office. But this is going to come with upgraded electrical options, which will have the fast USB charging, additional data teleport to not only connect your computer but the printer and other devices you might need with all of the Zoom and visual meetings going on nowadays.”
Kunec said the home offices will be available only on floor plans — both one and two stories — greater than 1,600 square feet. It would be built on the first floor.
“We’re not expanding the footprint, but it would be in the current footprint,” Kunec said. “It would take converting an additional den or bedroom into the home office option package.”
Kunec said buyers are coming into sales offices looking for the workspace options in their new homes. They have been doing semi-customs to add options in the interim to what has been their typical den, he said.
“I think there is going to be great demand, and people will opt to add this,” Kunec said.