Home Office: Mastering the new normal

Three tips for working more effectively from home.

Home Office

Until a year ago, the topic of working from home was still associated with a great deal of scepticism in many professional fields. Within a few months, however the proportion of employees working from home occasionally or exclusively has increased from 40% to 60%. 



Now a year into learning about this new phenomenon, we take a look into the future, together with trend researcher Oona Horx-Strathern: She has focused on trends in the area of living, construction and architecture for more than 25 years. In the Home Report series of Zukunftsinstitut, she now takes a look at how we will be living in future. 


What role will the home office play in future?

From an improvised design experiment to one of the main living trends in 2021: the “Hoffice” merges the place of work and the place of residence in inextricable fashion. It was of course the Covid pandemic which set off this whole development in the first place. But we are now faced with the question as to whether our working life is undergoing irreversible change or whether the Hoffice will slide into the background as soon as the end of the pandemic is in sight.

Oona Horx-Strathern has a clear answer to this: “The Hoffice is here to stay. The way we work will never be the same again – just like other aspects of our lives won’t. So the time has come to develop smart solutions and space-usage concepts that pave the way to the new normal.”
Oona Horx-Strathern sees a great opportunity in this journey. The term “Hoffice” coined by her is a light-hearted allusion to “Hoffnung”, the German word for “hope”. Because the injection of work into our home environment will take the relationship we have with our homes to a new level. As Third Places like restaurants and cultural venues have been closed, everything has revolved around our own four walls in the past months. “Now more than ever before, being at home means being comfortable and thus describes not only a physical location but also a lifestyle”, explains the expert.

Oona Horx-Strathern
working from home on a laptop

#1 How to work as effectively as possible from home

Despite the fact that they save time and have greater autonomy, only 56% of employees find working from home more enjoyable than working in an office, according to the findings of a study conducted in May 2020. If we want to change this, we need to rethink: Up until now, offices were pure business spaces. But during the crisis they turned into living spaces. When it comes to unlocking our potential and thinking creatively, our surroundings play a crucial role. As Dostoyevsky put it: “Beauty will save the world.” Oona Horx Strathern agrees: “The Hoffice has given us newfound freedom to adapt our workplace to suit our personal style of living. We need to capitalize on this an create an environment that we enjoy working in.” We need to ensure the lighting is good. We also need to understand that art prints or special pieces of furniture can give space a personal touch.


#2 How to use spaces in a flexible way

The key term when it comes to the “Hoffice” is flexibility. A third of homeworkers under 30 years of age do not work in a designated work space, but constantly move between the kitchen table and the sofa. But there is more to flexibility: “Adapting spaces for the purposes they’re meant to fulfill allows us to respond more quickly to new challenges”, explains Horx-Strathern. “Furnishings should be all about versatility; ideally the interior design should be suitable for both home and office. It is not really necessary to have a separate work space.” On the other hand, using the bedroom as an office may not be ideal with the risk of seeing the desk as the last thing before drifting off to sleep. But a simple trick can sort this out: Room dividers, shelves or curtains are elegant solutions for separating the two areas – not only from a spatial point of view, but also from a mental perspective.

bauhaus style home
Oona Horx-Strathern and husband

#3 How to juggle work and life

If work is encroaching more and more into your private life, it goes beyond spatial flexibility. We also need to adapt mentally. Oona Horx-Strathern has experienced this first hand: During the Covid pandemic she shared the living area and work space with a three-generation household. Whoever happened to be in a meeting got the quietest work space – everybody else had to improvise and sometimes even ended up next to the washing machine. During the past months she has therefore learned one thing in particular: “The Hoffice can only work if we achieve the right combination of professional and family life: We need a work-life-family balance. “The key to this is communication – both as regards who needs what space, but also about topics that are not at all related to work and office. Two other 2021 living trends offer a possible solution: “ You could upgrade the balcony or redesign the living area using hotel rooms as an inspiration: “Romancing the Balcony” and “Home Suite Home” ensure an outdoor and holiday feeling at home, creating a counterbalance to work”, recommends Horx-Strathern.


You can also include relaxation times in your work day. For example, you can adapt everyday office routines at home: Instead of a chat in the office kitchen, you can communicate via video conference from home while enjoying a cup of tea. Little relaxation sessions like these provide energy for the work day ahead and generate proximity to colleagues – despite the physical distance.

Energy kick or stress management – recommendations for your tea break or that cup of tea after work

Strong Assam: Assam tea with loads of caffeine and its malty, spicy flavour is sure to bring a change of pace into your home office.

Daily Mate: All good things come in threes.. The trio comprising mate, guarana and green tea guarantees an energized start to the day and will definitely help conquer that afternoon slump


The Camomile: Be if after a stressful work day or before an important meeting. THE CAMOMILE delivers new impetus thanks to its revitalizing aroma.


Easy Dreamer: Many people working from home suffer from sleep problems as a result of working on weekends or at night.  EASY DREAMER is a blend of fennel, valerian and melissa, making the perfect companion for a relaxed evening or the last few minutes of reading before going to sleep.

Avoury tea boxes