If you currently work from home, you're part of a percentage of the population that's grown significantly over the past few years. Since 2019, Covid-19 lockdowns and public movement restrictions saw many employees temporarily working from home to help curb the disease's spread. Three years later, roughly 40% of South Africans earning over R10,000 a month have returned to the office. Since then, many continue to work at home with over a third of the country's middle class dividing their time between their home and the office. This movement has impacted how and where we live, which has naturally impacted the local property market. Here’s what this means for you if you’re a property owner – or looking to become one.
It’s never been easier for South Africans to work from home. Increased access to the internet and its communication tools means that a person working from home can regularly contact their colleagues as well as share ideas, content and conversations with them in real-time. A growing number of jobs traditionally performed in offices can now be performed remotely. Other, newer, jobs can be performed without any face-to-face interaction with others required.
People working from home are doing so for many reasons. A 2018 report on commuter traffic times reveals that South Africa has the eighth-worst traffic congestion in the world, with local drivers spending an average of 36 hours in peak hour congestion every year. Not only does working from home help recoup this lost time but it also eliminates many of the costs associated with traveling to work including transportation fares or petrol, motor insurance and general car upkeep.
A survey into the motivations of those who work from home reveals that most of the people surveyed believe that being allowed to work from home makes them more productive, motivated and committed to their employer. It also indicates that employees will make future job decisions depending on an employer’s willingness to offer them a more flexible work situation.
Recent increases in remote working have impacted the property market in tangible ways. It's kickstarted a 'semigration' trend, which has seen South Africans reevaluate their choice of location when choosing a residential property.
Past property owners had to consider their proximity to their workplace when choosing a home or their proximity to central public transport routes or main roads. As this is no longer necessary, many South Africans are moving away from urbanised metropolitan areas that often come with a higher cost of living. They’re increasingly opting for areas that are more affordable and offer a better quality of life for themselves and their family. Popular areas include coastal and inland suburb towns that promise reduced crime levels and a slower-paced way of living.
Many people working from home are also reevaluating how well their current homes are meeting their needs — whether or not they’re interested in relocating. Depending on the nature of their work, individuals can find themselves needing a dedicated working space that offers them privacy and a place to securely set up their computers, tools and equipment.
Loadshedding is currently posing a constant threat to productivity, and this will impact remote workers more than those who work in an office. It means that remote workers might consider moving to a property equipped with solar power energy generation or an apartment in a generator-equipped building to complete their work and avoid missing any deadlines.
Finding a property that supports your remote work can mean evaluating it using different criteria. Here are some of them:
The world of work is changing, and so have the homes that we live in. Making the decision to change your surroundings is a big one, which is why you should only consult experts when seeking out financing for your new home. SA Home Loans can help you with this, so contact us today for more information.