A Case of Redesign: How to Make Loft Living More Comfortable for Families During COVID-19
In 2021, working from home has become much more common than ever before. And problem number one for all parents working from home is having to explain to their children that even though they’re home, they still need to work.
In open layouts, this is an even bigger challenge since the designations for living and working are not usually visible. However, loft owners can turn this into an advantage: they can keep an eye on their kids—no walls to obstruct their view—and work productively at the same time. The trick lies in setting up designated areas for work, play, and family time.
Setting up a work-from-home office
The amount of space needed for parents working from home depends on their kids’ ages and lifestyles. There are at least two redesign options that can help organize a loft space so that parents can get enough privacy for work without being completely isolated from the rest of the family:
- A dedicated workplace in one of the corners sectioned off by two glass partitions. This construction will provide the privacy needed for concentration but, at the same time, will allow for looking after kids through the glass. For better sound insulation, the partitions can be made floor to ceiling.
- An office on the second level. This option allows for more or less isolated working while keeping a bird’s-eye view on what’s happening in the rest of the space.
Both options require installing glass partitions. Such partitions come in different types and configurations—from stationary dividers with a swing door to a bifold door that can be completely removed (folded up) every evening.
Setting up a designated play area
For families with younger children, a better option may be setting up a designated play area. This can be implemented in the same way as a home office: Choose a nice bright corner and separate it with two additional glass walls. Again, full-height glass partitions will mitigate noise and, at the same time, allow working parents to keep an eye on their children.
Many people also love using lofts (upper levels in their open-floor apartments) as a play area. This helps keep clutter in one place but can distract from work if trying to keep one eye on the kids.
A safety note: Glass partitions are normally made of safety glass, which is either tempered or laminated. Such glass is difficult to break. But if it happens, the glass remains harmless for people nearby: tempered glass shatters into small rounded pieces, and laminated glass remains together due to a plastic adhesive interlayer between glass sheets.
Highlighting common space for family time
Families that have chosen open-concept living have done so for good reason and having a lot of family time comes first on the list. Using separate spaces during working hours could easily become a stressful situation for the whole family—parents feeling stressed and guilty while bosses and kids jostle for their attention.
In this situation, it is important to do something to highlight the common space where the family can still spend time together. New bright cushions, pictures, family games—anything that can be shared and used by the entire family will work.
Working from home may remain the reality for a couple of years during the pandemic (and well afterward if it becomes the new norm). Thus, organizing a home work space has become a long-term investment for many people. Lofts and other open layouts can provide an acceptable compromise between working from home and looking after kids. Make loft living comfortable in these new conditions!