BLeisure, WFH, & An IKEA Hack

Design, House And Home, Tales Of Upper Hillsborough

Welcome to my blog on Canadian real estate, culture and design, with a particular focus on Toronto, Ontario and occasional posts from my Home Away From Home design incubator in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Today I want to tell you about my recent attempt to ‘butch it up’ by tackling a new creative construction project with my own two hands! The desired finished product was a beautiful WFH desk for a soon-to-be-arriving resident at The Black House who, like many Canadians operating under pandemic mandates, is now doing telework. Using that project as a jumping off point, I also want to share with you some stats that demonstrate how – in the span of 24 months since the world first went into lockdown – the work-from-home trend has completely revolutionized not only how we work but the environments in which we do so. 



The Stats Show WFH Is Here To Stay

This Forbes article “Remote Work Is Here To Stay And Will Increase Into 2023, Experts Say” points to a study that proves what many of us have been experiencing anecdotally. Remote work has surged since the pandemic started, and is likely to continue to grow, given that workers are embracing the work/live balance opportunities that telework offers.

According to the study from Ladders,  referenced in the above article, remote work opportunities for high-paying jobs have grown to 4 percent prior to the pandemic, to 9 percent at the end of 2020 (well into the pandemic), to more than 15 percent at present. They project that over the coming year, remote jobs will comprise 25 percent of the workforce in North America!

Another survey referenced in the above article from Owl Labs showed that the vast majority of workers felt that having the opportunity to work from home was better for mental health and that they felt as or more productive than they did in the traditional onsite work environment. And most telling – 84 percent of respondents said that they would be willing to continue the work-from-home arrangement, even if it meant taking a pay cut.

Recent data from Stats Can showed that 32 percent of respondents were working at home in early 2021, which is a significant increase from a year prior when only 4 percent of respondents were working from home. Even if a traditional return to the office occurs in the years to come, their data shows that workers would still like to at least have the option to conduct roughly a quarter of their work hours at home.




‘Bleisure’: An Emerging Trend Rooted In The WFH Movement

Now that we are collectively untethered, a new trend is on the rise called BLeisure (business and leisure), where corporate or creative professionals marry the necessity of business travel with a vacation get-away to accommodate the requirements of testing and quarantining for Covid19. Or, another way of looking at it is getting the opportunity to squeeze in some sun n surf at a time when non-essential travel is discouraged. And for many of us, who wouldn’t want a means to escape the repetitive same-place different-day monotony that has accompanied the Work From Home mandates of Covid19? BLeisure has grown recently, with the Omicron variant further delaying a return to the office for many sectors.

This trend has been welcomed by the beleaguered travel industry as it represents a new market, supported by the shift towards remote work and a fundamental re-thinking about how and where we set up “office”.

This Bloomberg article “How Working From Home Will Permanently Change the Way We Travel” chronicles the growth of the BLeisure trend. Among other things to emerge is the likelihood that people will travel more often- because they don’t have to define a trip as either business or pleasure. It’s the kind of convenient combo that is at the crux of work-life balance.

In addition to having a fantastic destination in mind, BLeisure travellers will most likely need accommodations that naturally lend themselves to work-from-home. Check out this article from the Washington Post “Bleisure’ Trips Boom As Travelers Mix Work and Play

So, it was with very little surprise that we encountered this emerging trend firsthand with our newest tenant at The Black House On PEI, who also happens to be travelling while working. They chose our Attic Atelier suite – a charming ‘treehouse’ tucked under the eaves – for both the experience and its luxe comfort.





Truth be told, I’d never held a belt sander until I embraced this easy-peasey IKEA hack. Embracing a a DIY sensibility I’ve embraced before – like when I hacked a built-in shelving unit for a pair of clients in Ikea Hacking For Ikea Hackers – this time I took some affordable IKEA trestles to create a unique statement piece for a WFH office in The Attic Atelier here at The Black House.

After assembling the IKEA trestles from their flatpack box and artfully screwing three reclaimed barn planks (nearly 150 years old!) to them, I used a belt sander to refresh the grain and plane it so there were no ridges and no risk of slivers. I used increasingly finer sandpaper each time, followed by a tack cloth to remove all the dust. Then, I applied a clear coat of varnish – to allow the natural beauty of the wood grain take centre stage – and let it thoroughly dry before sanding the planks by hand again. I employed the tack cloth once more to ensure a particle- and debris-free surface before adding the final coat of varnish.



Gotta love it, no? 🙂

Thanks to my friend Paul Coles for guiding me through the project!



Here are some complimentary blogs I think you’ll enjoy!

Could Your WFH Space Be Better? Over the many months since our lives first flipped upside down with the arrival of COVID-19, I’ve written extensively about finding creative solutions for dedicated work space in an already-crowded dwell, the essentials for maintaining productivity and balance at home, and how to design a dreamy home office that invigorates and inspires!

–> How To Create A Productive ‘Work-From-Home’ Office Space During The Pandemic

–> Dear Urbaneer: How To Resolve Your Work From Home Dilemma During The COVID-19 Pandemic

–> Post-Pandemic Housing Trends To Watch For.

Setting up an ideal WFH space isn’t just about being stylish and functional (although those are essential to productivity as well!). Remember your infrastructure matters too, as this article discusses: “Dicker Data: Eliminate the weakest link in the work-from-home strategy.“.

Technology at home is of growing importance, not only for WFH, but in terms of making life easier and more sustainable. And Toronto’s role as a leader in IT research and development means that our fair city is well poised to support workers through this WFH transition. Here are a couple of my posts on this subject:

–> Toronto’s Booming Technology Economy And Our Real Estate Market

–> Smart Technology And Homes Of The Future



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Thanks for reading!

-The Urbaneer Team

Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000

– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –

Celebrating Thirty Years As A Top-Producing Toronto Realtor


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