It’s another interesting day at She Renovates because today, I have James Burgin, one of my most favourite people who is going to chat with me about HOBO or Home Office Broadcasting Office and the opportunities that lie ahead for our aspiring renovators after this Covid19 saga. James is a marketing and branding expert, so he will also share how renovators can market and present themselves to their potential clients and to other people.
Listen to Episode 114: Post Covid Opportunities For Renovators
Podcast: Download (Duration 29:40 — 2MB)
- [00:02:54] HOBO and trends around how Australians are living post Covid
- [00:04:50] The work space in a home is becoming more important
- [00:06:09] You’re 50% more productive when you’ve got a second monitor
- [00:08:19] People who work from home increased from 5% to 45%
- [00:10:09] 45% of the workforce
- [00:11:02] Now we can work from home but we also can have a restaurant at home
- [00:12:07] The “Pillowfication”
- [00:13:21] Renovators on trend or ahead of the trend
- [00:14:32] Styling a property
- [00:15:53] Maximising property value
- [00:16:59] Authenticity
- [00:18:34] Authority within
- [00:20:09] Rate My Skype Room
- [00:21:01] What we love about home offices
- [00:22:49] Renovators should look at the best ways to present
- [00:23:12] Acoustic is a big part of the audio
- [00:24:21] Why a home office should be considered in every renovation
- [00:25:21] Decentralisation of the workforce
- [00:27:06] Opportunities for renovators post Covid
- [00:28:13] The quality of the internet
“I think the main thing is that the home office, the zoom office, is really a thing that’s here. Whether it’s part of a room or a whole room, it needs to be considered probably in every renovation.”
Hello, hello! It’s Bernadette back with another episode of She Renovates. Now, today, we’re going to be talking about the HOBO, and I don’t mean the scruffy old fellow on the corner of the street, I am talking about the Home Office Broadcasting Office and I’ve brought a guest in today.
Firstly, he’s a School Of Renovating Student. He is also a marketing and branding expert. And he’s about to embark on his first renovation since he completed our bootcamp. He would have to be one of my most favourite people and he’s been guiding me on my home office set up.
I have mentioned a few times that I have claimed one of our bedrooms to set up for broadcasting mainly podcasts, but also video. So James has been keeping me on the straight and narrow, basically making sure that the setup is appropriate. We’ve had numerous conversations about this shift in society in general to working from home so we decided to put together an episode.
Part of it is unpacking the things that you need to consider when setting up home office. James refers to Bernard Salt who has some quite strong opinions about where we’re going in how we lay out our homes these days in order to accommodate the post COVID life. That is actually really interesting, we will share some of that. We’re also going to be talking about some of the opportunities for renovators post COVID.
Now, I’m sorry to report that somehow we lost the last few minutes of this interview, so I’ve got chopped off very abruptly, but we’re soldiering on regardless. And I think that there’s a lot of value to be gotten from it. So enjoy!
Bernadette: Hello everyone. Welcome to She Renovates. Today I have a special guest. I have James Burgin who is a student in The School Of Renovating and he’s currently planning out a renovation of his own. But more importantly, he is a master branding and marketing expert. So James has been my advisor for setting up my new HOBO which you’ll find all about shortly. So welcome James.
James Burgin: Thank you, Bernadette. It’s great to be here.
Bernadette: Yeah. Today we’re going to be talking about the home office and some trends around how Australians are living post COVID. This is really relevant for you as a renovator because you need to be planning your renovations to really make life easier and to attract your ideal market.
And as working from home has become much more of a thing, James is going to help me delve into that topic.
James Burgin: I’m happy to. We’ve all been through this whole pandemic, lockdown and all that sort of stuff. And of course I have a specialty of working from home. During the time of an extra computer screen on my desk, I brought down those desks. It goes up and down. So I have a little kind of nest. Which is a very key core of my living room because of that sort of proximity to the rest of the home life. Now for different people, with different situations, some people got families, some people have got most of the people working. Nevertheless, the workspace in the home has become more and more important.
Bernadette: Absolutely! That certainly relates to me. So I did have an office and I had been working from home for so long, I thought it’s ridiculous keeping the office so I let that go. And because David had come home, he joined me in my office, which is quite big and able to accommodate two. But two people on phones? Does not work. So he’s running a major redevelopment of a hospital from our top floor and so of course I decided to bail out to the kitchen table. That’s okay for a while, but it loses its shine after a little while because you need to- like I was mentioning, I did a zoom call and then realised that I had half a bottle of red wine over on the bench that I hadn’t moved away. So it didn’t look all wet professional.
James Burgin: There’s also a way to improvise, like a laptop only, in general you can pile on that top on a whole pile of books to have the camera at eye level, which is important that we should talk about that. Then you tend to be crouching down over the camera and your audience gets great view of your chin or in my case, my double chin.
Bernadette: You haven’t got that on your own.
James Burgin: To think about these seniors from our audience point of view and then of course you’ve got the magnificent set up here on that. I know it’s fairly new for you, but in general, the stats show us that sometimes 50% more productive when we’ve got a second monitor.
And having that set up, we can have your email was in one place and he worked on documents in another. It just tends to make for an easier functionality of workspace. Then of course you mentioned the word hoHOBO, and that comes from an Australian demographer guy whose name is Bernard Salt and I saw his presentation which he presented last year at the Telstra Vantage conference. And then he talked about HOBO, which is Home office Broadcast office. So when you have this function we talk about the evolution of that then we have to think of the technology. And so from the home innovation, home design point of view, there’s a technology aspect, but there’s also the evolution of the spaces.
So what further stops is that it goes back to the 1950 where the home was generally a two or three bedroom house, kids with bunk beds, two kids to a room and a beautiful show at the front of the house. No visitors would go beyond that. And so certainly not suitors as he calls them. I think we will have that included in the show notes to show off these notes that are partly deleted from it. But here it talks about this 1950s house, which had a big back garden and various traditional things that we would probably. This would have been a member, maybe being a baby boomer would remember from my childhood. There’s a space that I supposed is the close drive or the drawing back on the deck. A major change in style.
Bernadette: And also the kitchen.
James Burgin: Absolutely.
Bernadette: Yeah. If there was a dining room, it was a formal dining room. And then light went on in the kitchen.
James Burgin: Yes. So a sample to the 2020s, and Bernard Salt talks about how a room- or weeks ago, I visited my grandparents. They had a rumpus room downstairs, which was where the kids played.All my cousins, we went down there and we beat each other up.
That rumpus room over time became the family room. Which was a bit more multifunctional. And then it became the media room with some of the worksite and chairs and the DVDs and the VCR player, now of course streaming Netflix. Now that media room is morphed into a HOBO, the home office broadcast office or sometimes for the zoom room because we’ve all had to be working from home.
That’s another context he introduces, which is very interesting. He talks about how the Australian census showed that between 1996 and 2016, 5% of people work from home. And now we just went through the 2020 lockdown when 45% of us are working from home. That’s a massive shift.
But then when we get to see the light, you’re on the tail of post pandemic, he reckons 10 to 15% would be working from home, which is a massive shift. If you think 5% to 15% that shiftover. We were talking before we started, you think it could be even more?
Bernadette: Yes. And I really wonder, is he talking about 45% of the workforce?
James Burgin: Of the workforce, yes.
Bernadette: Yeah. I definitely think that it would be hard. One of the things I’ve noticed with Stephen is he goes to site because he’s got a project. He goes to site two days a week, but then he works from home the rest of the time. He may not come into those steps as well.
James Burgin: But this isn’t the perfect example, we’ve got choices now. I went to meet your colleagues, get some creative face-to-face water cooler conversations and mix it up. That wasn’t really an option before.
Bernadette: No. I really noticed it makes life easier. Just things like getting deliveries which was a pain in the neck. I’ve noticed that because then it’s been around, that’s really reduced the load.
James Burgin: Isn’t that interesting? Because that’s probably a part of this changing trend. Now we can work from home, but we also can have a restaurant at home where we can get fancy meals or meal components and watch massive chef teasers on Instagram live on a Friday night.
My niece worked with the private company out of Melbourne and they are absolutely game busters in the middle of the lockdown. They’re still going really well. That introduces you to stay at home with Netflix, say no more. How many different subscriptions do we all have to those streaming services? And the gym, go out for my afternoon jog or walk or hang out around.
These people were everywhere, but now people are at home creating gyms, so people don’t need two cars anymore. Then the double garage gets converted into a gym. Or they say even the home barista, there’s a special machine on the kitchen counter is part of this evolving trend.
Bernadette: It’s interesting because you were saying before and I thought you’re so right, once we moved on from the fifties, rather than the guests being taken into the front room, they would then come right into the house, go past the bedrooms. And so the bedrooms are on show, the beds need to be styled and Bernard Salt refers to it as “pillowfication.”
James Burgin: That should be a She Renovates term. Hashtag pillowfication. I love that.
Bernadette: Yeah, and fluffing the pillows, how many men complain about having to dive through a mountain of pillows before they get into bed? I have to say if I’m with them, I’ll dispense with them, but anyhow, and then go down to the kitchen.
James Burgin: This is the homepage of your website, Bernadette.
Bernadette: It is! And then they head down to the kitchen and the social life revolves around the island bench, which is the epitome of the entertainer’s kitchen. And he even goes so far as to talk about the German gooseneck tap and the better quality materials, like the more luxurious materials in that Island to meet with its increased status. Yeah. So it’s really interesting.
James Burgin: That’s correct. I really think about these trends and how they impact us. As renovators, we can be on trend or ahead of the trend so that if we’re renovating in the and installing an apartment to sell, well you talk about the first three seconds impression. Your recent renovation in Surry Hills of you already designed in the small HOBO space right in the living room.
Bernadette: Exactly. And it’s interesting. I was just thinking about that in the past, if I did a study nook, it would have been maybe 1.5 meters where I was really careful to make sure it was wide. Like it was almost two meters wide because when you’ve got a home office, you can’t be on a little tiny desk.
You need something that’s a decent size. The other thing that we can often get missed is that you need to think about if someone’s at home working the kids come home from school at four o’clock. And what’s the first thing they do? They turn the tele on you want to have a tele point in the bedrooms so that they can go somewhere away from where the dads or moms are working.
James Burgin: So what do you recommend in terms of when you’re styling a property, where you considered those details? I remember you had USB out that’s for the kitchen bench and those sorts of things where I thought it was innovative and yet really practical. What do you do in terms of your styling in terms of showing off these spaces?
Bernadette: Ideally you would have the TV on the walls so it’s obvious that it’s there. To be honest with you, I ran out of time on that one, got the point in, but didn’t tell them about it. And of course in the office, you would have a computer or a laptop or an iPad or a screen, a monitor so that you’re demonstrating lighting in that office area because that’s really important.
And sometimes you might even think about the background. We talked about that. So David was doing a review of a floor plan recently.
James Burgin: I remember that.
Bernadette: Yeah, and off from the kitchen was this meal’s area that was octagonal. It was a bit bizarre and very eighties ish. And what he suggested doing was building a partition wall so that you could face your desk against the wall. So on this side was the desk and the octagonal walls on behind so that created the backdrop for the zooming which I thought was great.
James Burgin: I think that was a very innovative and it was using up a space which was probably a bit redundant corridor and became a well styled, well considered HOBO out of nowhere. Actually where you’ve seen my plans of where it was your idea. Bernadette, she came around.
Bernadette: So brilliant. I’m modest.
James Burgin: Bernadette was sitting on my sofa and there’s my kitchen, which is called the Northern kitchen with a separate door and Bernadette said “I think you’re maximising the value of the property by keeping your kitchen there,” I think I fell off my chair. I thought we should move the kitchen to the living room and I was shocked but it’s actually about to be the most brilliant idea. So that was step one. And then step two, as it evolved further tanking the wall between the current kitchen and the living room, but not entirely mainly so it’s part of an open plan wall with a screen.
Now I had a BFO, uploading flash of the obvious because it was going to become my HOBO, but then I realised that it actually is a third bedroom. And I’m converting a two-bedroom unit into a three-bedroom unit, which in the short term will be my delightful HOBO with a great background for zoom backgrounds.
By the way, I really am not kidding on those virtual backgrounds.
Bernadette : Oh, no.
James Burgin: I mean that’s what it is Bernadette talks about is authenticity. How many people’s rooms have we looked into during the pandemic? Celebrities and the top politicians were in their own homes. That’s authentic. It’s casual casualisation of the home, as opposed to those 1950s form of units.
And then you talked about the island bench and the kitchen. Now we’re being transparent and there’s something that’s healthy, mental health about being there. Now having said that as renovators, we want to consider the foreground and the background of the zoom conversation in a way that our potential buyers or renters or whoever they are don’t have to worry about.
Just like a bedroom, there’s always a logical space to put the bed head. Considering the lights and the movements and that sort of thing.
Same with the home office, where is the best aspect. And sometimes it’s not necessarily putting the desk because in this case, it worked well. But you’ve got a nice space where you’ll be able to have two or three different layouts for different kinds of presentations that you’re doing. And then you could have a different background. Even the idea of making the background easy.
Let’s say for example your desk was more in the middle, that’s a collect background. There will be other backgrounds Bernadette but you could change it up depending on what you’re talking about. And there’s a term from the videographer friend of mine” authority within.”
James Burgin: So that is the bling that you have behind you, such as certificates towards trophies, or showing your book, anything that gives you some sort of authority.
I bet everyone here is watching this or listening to this has studied the bookshelves of the people on TV or the paper I;ve described or zoom in on, what’s in their background? What’s considered?
So that brings up our next reference, which is a Twitter feed, wonderful twitter feed, room maker. And the handle is “rate my skype room”. And this person in the US has 380,000 followers, absolutely wonderful. And I’m not sure if it’s a male or a female that they rate the backgrounds and they give him points out of 10 for that’s takeaway points.
So that brings up the background and this great Twitter handle a person who is taking it upon themselves to rate people’s backgrounds, whether they be on TV or Skype or zoom. They are rating you on how good your bookshelves are, or your lodging or the arts or the overall authority. Wonderful insights, good to learn from , “rate my skyperoom.”
Bernadette: Yes. I felt he was quite generous with his scoring.
James Burgin: I did too. A scale of 1 to 10, some people get zero. I think too many people get 8 out of 10.
Bernadette: I would agree.
James Burgin: And a few of the 10 out of 10, which probably agree with that too. Anyway, as humor and insightful, but it’s a thing. Backgrounds and less for virtual backgrounds.
Bernadette: No we don’t like virtual backgrounds because that’s the thing, the thing that we love about the home office is that being real and being able to connect with someone in their natural environment. The one I love is the one with the golden gate bridge.
James Burgin: Oh, yeah.
Bernadette: It’s just bizarre.
James Burgin: Yeah, or outer space. We’ve talked about the trends where part of the trends is authenticity and casualisation where we’re building our lives, we’re creating our home environment in a way that’s a real lifestyle. You mentioned the island bench, and the kitchen, it’s part of it.
Our HOBO and now we’re distinguishing is a part of the home and an important part. And so let’s be real let’s reveal ourselves and let’s be authentic.
Bernadette: Although it’s our best selves.
James Burgin: I bet so. The worst thing is when we need good quality audio that’s critical but then also as good quality lighting.And most cameras these days in those tops are pretty good. Or certainly smartphones they’ve always had very good. Look at the phenomenon of tiktok, which is a medium, or I think there’s phenomenal over this giant guys of short form video is with us.
And so this is a long form video for this podcast, but nevertheless, video is here. Good lighting, good audio and good environments. And TikTok’s on much of a style at home.
Bernadette: Yes, James, I think we should do an episode on TikTok for renovators because I’ve had so many people say to me, you should be on TikToK and I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh , no way a month for Sundays,” but I don’t really understand the value then for renovators. Although you did show me that site where- actually I’m directing, we’ll get back to the topic.
James Burgin: Yeah, we’ll get back. Anyway, TikTok is a thing and I think even us renovators are because we need to be presenting ourselves, we’re looking at the best ways to present. And I think the message is you can present amazingly well in 15 seconds or one minutes. Profound. Advertisements of course ‘ve known that forever. Yes. But now it’s available to everyone.
Bernadette : It’s interesting you’re talking about the audio because acoustics are a big part of the audio. And that was one of a big reasons why I decided to move because the acoustics in our house are terrible because our ceilings are really high.
James Burgin: I’m thinking about things like the materials and the space. So we’ve got an acoustic wall here, but if I didn’t have that, then I can still create that effect by making sure we’ve got heavy curtains having a lot of soft furnishings in the room. Yes, that amazes me.
Those can help and carpet , like carpet square , cushions and IKEA has, are really cute screens, it just keeps over the edge of the desk or standing on the floor and you go about the desk pipe, and then it is really good for a shell down thing. I think they were originally designed for multi person offices, open plan offices, in the HOBO situation, they’re ideal.
Bernadette: Yeah. It’s just rolling off the tongue, James. Okay.
James Burgin: It is! She Renovates adopts HOBO.
Bernadette: Exactly. Bernard Salt has been responsible for coining, quite a few phrases, and one of them was the Avocado Smash.
James Burgin: Oh really? Oh, there you go. Thank you, Bernadette. And of course, pillowfication that picks up that runs today.
Bernadette: We did. Yeah.
James Burgin: I think the main thing is that the home office, the zoom office, is really a thing that’s here. Whether it’s part of a room or a whole room, it needs to be considered probably in every renovation.
I think you were talking about earlier. Background, foreground like both sides of the equation of where the office is situated style with an in mind so that when someone walks into the home, they see, “Oh, I can sit down from immediate work or on hanging out. My favorite radio or my news outlet of the moment,” or is it YouTube for that matter. “I’m comfortable.” Probably the home office chair would be part of the styling too.
Bernadette: Absolutely. Yeah. You’re actually sitting in our home office chair.
James Burgin: It’s very comfortable.
Bernadette: This is the one that we bought to star Chalmers street. So there you go. Yeah, so just a final point. And this again is from Bernard Salt and he talked about basically the decentralisation of the workforce as a result of this working from home phenomenon.
James Burgin: What I was saying is that pre pandemic, pre Coronavirus , we pretty much had what he calls a Friday city, whether it be Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, wherever where the CBT was to the main action for the city and people would commute into the city to work.
And he says that “millennial will seek out their fun on the Friday, whereas now he says the trends are evolving to become the post Corona city, which is like a number of small subsidies that they collected. And then he calls him 20 minute cities.
So you can get anywhere you want within 20 minutes, which is smaller hubs, smaller even neighborhoods where they’re more gathering around. I even see some of the big developers like Mirvac, they call it building this into their own multi-story buildings where they’re building community rooms and workspace.
When this incident building, you said that it was keeping people on board and that bars and lounges and that sort of thing. So expand that out to the neighborhood, expand to the environment. And you’ve put everything there. You don’t have to travel. Normally, we can be from, power massive or Western Sydney just to gather work in the CBD.
So that’s a trend and I think as property developers, we can be thinking of how we can be looking for properties that could fit well in with this trend, how we can contribute to the neighborhood.
Bernadette: Yeah. And I think the other side to that is the opportunity it provides for renovators in particular, because if you’ve not got a budget for a in a city location or suburb, then that just opens up the options for you because suddenly you can go to a regional city, and have the same opportunity for making a profit from a project.
James Burgin: People are absolutely leaving the city. We have a negative growth in Sydney, I know because people would go in and real estate prices we see them rising outside the city. If we, as renovators,as they’re thinking of people, telling the community which they’re choosing to do now , then we’re providing that for them so that when the minute they walk into this potential new space, it’s already set up.
Bernadette: Absolutely. And something that we’ve missed and I think it’s probably worth saying is the quality of the internet. And it’s interesting because when we were on the market with Chalmers street, the questions were coming through is , does this have NBN? And that’s the first time. That would be a deal breaker if you didn’t have dates in internet and you just can’t work.
James Burgin: Yup. Very important distinction.
Okay. So as I said, it did finish rather abruptly and I apologise for that. If you haven’t already left us a review please do so because they just make so much difference to us. It keeps me going. And I have had a couple of really lovely reviews recently, and I’m going to read them out next week, but if you could head over to iTunes and leave us a review, and then if you feel like spending some time with some crazy obsessed, renovators come over to the she renovates free Facebook group and join up and let us put a face to a name.
Bye for now.