I was delighted to see in last weekend’s issue of  the local Gold Coast Bulletin a story about a new property development, custom-designed for home based business. The article is headed ‘Bringing the work ethic home’. The work ethic? Well, that’s not really the point.

The plan is to have 2-3 bedroom villas with 100 square metres (1,076.39 sq feet) of office space. There is not much to show about it on the net, but there’s an artist’s impression at http://www.theprecinct.net.au/ 

In recent years I’ve noticed plenty of real estate sales advertisements with claims that properties include space for a home office. But this is the first time I’ve seen an article or advertisement which offers to incorporate a fully functional office structure into the basic design of a residential development. It may not be a first internationally, or even nationally, but it’s the first I’ve seen.

The article in the Gold Coast Bulletin claims that ‘Each home will be smart wired providing state-of-the-art infrastructure, offering the convergence of technology for work, convenience and home based leisure and entertainment.’ I think I’ve seen that sort of claim before and I take it with a grain of salt, but this development offers an attached ‘studio’ for each home, with an additional carspace as well as double space carparking for the home. Not bad in a fairly well built up area close to the tourist/business area of Surfers Paradise. Top price for all this is about US$556,000. The location is also about 5 minutes drive from some great surfing beaches.

And who’s the target market for this development? Hobbyists, people who respond to the hyped internet advertisements to make money from your computer without doing anything!? No. The people they are targetting are lawyers, accountants and ‘even artists’ (‘even’? oh well). In other words, serious professionals with real businesses.

This is not an advertisement for the development! Anyway, it may in fact turn out to be very ordinary. By way of background, this Gold Coast area, as far as most Australians who live elsewhere are concerned, is the home of capitalism, ‘red in tooth and claw’, certainly no haven for dewy-eyed folks sentimentalising ‘the future of work’.

So what I’m really interested in is the fact that property developers, not known in Australia or internationally for their sense of altruism, and in the Gold Coast to boot, have evidently decided that there’s money to be made in catering more intelligently to the home based business community’s desire for home+office spaces that are *designed*, not just patched together.

Which means we are on the brink of – or right into – an era where ‘home based office’ no longer means ‘the dining table when we’re not eating’ or ‘the lounge room when we’re not watching television’. It’s seriously designed space for serious business – from home.

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