The Coronavirus pandemic and the government restrictions designed to contain it have witnessed a massive increase in the number of people working from home, avoiding the congregation of bodies in enclosed offices and other workspaces that helps spread the virus.  
While figures are unavailable for the North, in Britain it’s estimated that nearly 50% of employees are currently working remotely, or dividing their time between home and a physical office, and we can assume the pattern holds locally.
While restrictions are set to ease in the coming months, a significant number of companies and employees have expressed interest in making remote working a permanent fixture of their work lives going forward.
There are attractive aspects to remote working for both sides, including avoiding commutes and extra expenses, as well as being closer to family. The same survey on the numbers working remotely found that 90% of employees expressed interest in perhaps working from home on a more permanent basis.
Given this changed reality, the ‘new normal’ may well involve a significant proportion of the workforce working remotely from home permanently, combining their domestic and work settings. For that reason, new property buyers are understandably concerned to know that any potential property they’re looking at could make for an attractive potential workspace, while sellers want to know what features to advertise about their properties.
Property Pulse spoke to two young professionals from  Belfast to find out their thoughts.
Mairead McGlinchey, 32, is a young professional from the Blacks Road currently in the market for her first home, who has been working from home since the pandemic hit in spring. Despite the easing of government restrictions, she has been told that her workforce may not return to the office until 2021 at the earliest.
“Given the length of time we’re expected to work from home, it’s weighed heavily on my mind when looking at properties how they would function as remote workspaces,” she told Property Pulse.
“For me, the major priority has to be a spare room that can be converted into a permanent office. I don’t want to be working in my kitchen or living room because I think it would affect my concentration. The second factor is whether or not there’s a garden. If I’m going to be working permanently from home I need some sort of space where I can mentally ‘detox’ and chill out a bit. You need a little bit of green space.”
Another local house hunter, Mícheal Maguire, 29, and his fiancée recently purchased their first home in Andersonstown, a three-bedroom semi-detached property, and converted their dining room into a remote working space. He told us a little bit about their experience.
“Myself and my girlfriend have both been working from home for at least the past three months, and we only bought the house last year,” he said. “It can be a bit cramped, you’re almost living on top of each other. 
“But I would recommend anyone purchasing at the moment to make sure you have a little extra space, even if it’s just a spare bedroom, that you can convert into a working space.
“The second thing is, make sure the area has a decent internet connection! High-speed network connection is critical if you’re going to be attending video-calls, uploading and downloading files, and everything else,” he added.