We hope this article finds all of our residents and prospective residents safe and healthy.  We also hope the impacts of COVID-19 will soon pass and that things will get back to normal, or as close to normal as soon as possible. However, we also recognize through the modifications we have had to make to our own business practices, namely moving to a 'remote work' environment, they're quite likely will be a 'new normal' and that this new normal also has the potential to impact the way we all work and where we work from in the future. We have heard from both residents and employees about the benefits and pitfalls of working from home and one theme persists – those that have a dedicated and comfortable at-home workspace tend to experience greater productivity and find more satisfaction in their 'remote work' environment.

With many of our apartments having a den, residents have been able to capitalize upon this value-added space and set up their own at-home workstations. This has afforded residents the opportunity to continue to function as normally as possible during these unprecedented times. In speaking with these residents, we have learned some of the benefits of working from home include:

  • Commuting – working from home saves people both time and money as it relates to their daily commute. From the time caught in traffic to time spent finding a parking spot, home-based workers can save considerable time by not working in a traditional office. They also save on the costs of fuel, parking and potentially even car ownership costs if they elect to not own a car.
  • Productivity – many employees who work from home or those who have transitioned to a home-based work environment say they are more productive. They experience fewer distractions from sharing space with others and fewer interruptions from colleagues and have expressed that the comforts of home allow them to focus more intently on their work.
  • Job Satisfaction and Work-Life Balance – many employees report greater job satisfaction with a flexible work arrangement and the ability to work from home. Working from home affords people the opportunity to balance leisure, household chores and their work tasks without finding any of these overly burdensome. They are able to create a relaxed workspace, wear comfortable clothing, and even multi-task. For example, home-based employees can perform simple household duties like putting in a load of laundry or prepping food while taking a work call.
  • Tax Considerations – those that have commonly worked from home and perfected the craft are likely well aware of the tax benefits that may exist for home-based employees. While there are a couple of key criteria that individuals have to demonstrate to claim a home office tax deduction, there may be potential to claim a portion of rent, utilities, insurance and other things like office products. We strongly suggest that anyone contemplating such deductions seek out the advice of their professional tax advisor or CRA.

We wish all of our residents currently working from home continued success in their business endeavours and hope that they are able to find an appropriate work-life balance.  We also encourage any prospective residents looking for a home office space to reach out to our leasing team. These sizable spaces are private, come with Ethernet and telephone connections and offer a great home office alternative.

And, beyond the in-suite dens, many of our apartment communities also have clubhouses with IT workstations and other common areas that those working from home can access to do their work, socialize with other residents or even meet clients and host meetings. Additionally, our clubhouses also house commercial-grade fitness centres residents can access throughout the day, without having to leave the apartment community or pay extra for a gym membership. While the clubhouses are currently closed to residents and the public because of COVID-19, once they re-open they provide even more flex space for remote workers.

Stay safe, stay healthy, stay strong!