If you are planning to relocate and work from home in Spain, albeit working remotely for an existing company or setting up your own business, there are many factors you should take into consideration when looking to purchase or to rent a property.
Renting or purchasing a property that will not only be your home but also your workplace, requires careful consideration.
As personal property finders, we have experience in sourcing your ideal property. We understand your requirements and will ensure you purchase a property that you are totally satisfied with … and we will save you time and money in the process!
5 Factors to Consider for Your Ideal Work From Home in Spain Property:
1. The Weather: Air Conditioning / Orientation of the Property / Toldos
The wonderful weather in southern Spain is one of the reasons many people choose this as their ideal location. Southern Spain enjoys well over 2,500 hours of sunshine per year, significantly more than our neighbours in Italy and France. You can forget about commuting back and forth from your office in the dark during wintertime!
As beautiful as blue skies and sunshine are, you must also consider both heat and direct sunlight when choosing your workspace, particularly if you use a screen.
If you are purchasing a property it is easy to install ceiling fans, toldos (blinds and shutters for windows) and even air conditioning. If you are attracted to modern, bright properties boasting large windows, don’t forget about your need for a suitable workspace.
If you are renting a property, this is something you must discuss with the owner of the property. As a last resort, a portable air conditioning unit or a stand-alone ventilator is a viable option.
2. The Layout of the Property:
Subject to your line of work, one of the positives about working from home is that you can work whenever and from wherever you prefer. Having different places in which you feel comfortable working can have a positive impact on your productivity and your daily work schedule.
Think about the type of workspace you would prefer:
- A designated workspace within the property where you can leave all your work materials knowing they will not be disturbed by other family members (ie. a separate room for your office)
- An external office, maybe a “shed” or “annexe” that allows you to “leave your house and go to the office” to carry out your work.
- A poolside table that you can simply tidy up at the end of your working hours (this is a fabulous idea but ensure you have shade if you need to view a screen)
- A covered, outdoor terrace is a great workspace.
From Maya, author of Healthy Happy Homeworking:
When choosing where to put your home office… It’s easy to default to it being the smallest bedroom, the one no-one wants. But, you probably spend hours in there every week, maybe more time than in the kitchen or living room. Just as they say you should be ready to spend out on a good quality mattress for your bed, you should choose your home with your home office accommodation front and centre of mind. Make it somewhere comfortable and attractive and personal. 2020 has brought many changes, but one good one may be that we can all feel a bit more relaxed about displaying our personal environment and context, to clients and employers, on those ubiquitous zoom call. What does your personal office space say about you, and to you?
Your broadband connection – things are much better than they were, but you still can’t assume you will have fast broadband in every location. Check the address with your provider before you sign! Most urban areas now have cable in the street, and/or reliable 4G, but check. Also within the house, older buildings may not have great signal distribution, and if your router is on a different floor and a few thick walls away, then you might need a repeater or relay.
Your office room – a separate room is always ideal when WFH, although it can be an additional expense if renting, and/or mean you don’t have a dedicated space for guests. A sofa bed is a good way to make the space versatile for flexible use. If you are autonomó, you should be able to deduct some utilities and costs against your household bills, as a proportion of the whole house space, so talk to your gestor/contable about how to account for that. The idea of working in an attractive garden outbuilding or glazed terrace may not be feasible year round.
Staying comfortable – Spain may have more seasonality than you are used to! Ambient temperature and light can vary greatly throughout the year. So think about how you will keep your office cool in summer and warm in winter, without the cost of heating the whole house, if you’re the only one working in it all day. You may also need to consider angles and sunlight – at this time of year I need to work at a slightly different position in the morning, as the low winter sun makes my screen invisible for a couple of hours.
For more tips about Setting up a safe and ergonomic space to work from home, whatever that work is. Visit Healthy Happy Homeworking.
3. Where You Live: Coworking Space Availability and Coffee Shops
Do you like to work in the peaceful environment of your own home? Or do you prefer to have ambient noise and social interaction?
In Spain, it is not at all uncommon to see workers drinking coffee or eating breakfast, whilst typing away on their laptops or speaking on their mobile phones in cafes and on terraces.
In recent years, the number of Coworking spaces in Spain has noticeably increased. Several websites and apps, such as CoWorkBooking can be used to source the availability of such spaces, subject to where you are looking to live.
If your property budget is limited, and stretching to that extra workspace puts other requirements at risk, these are great options to consider.
If however, your budget allows for a spacious home, heading slightly further inland will provide you with that extra space, without blowing the budget.
4. Availability & Quality of Wi-Fi Services:
It may surprise you to hear that even now in 2020, certain internet service providers leave a lot to be desired in some areas of Spain. Telefonica/Movistar, Spain’s largest telecommunications company still does not provide fibre optic internet in many areas (our home included!). However, there are many alternative quality suppliers, even in the most remote of areas.
Before signing on the dotted line, whether it be a sales or rental contract, ensure you have verified the availability of a suitable internet service provider in your area.
5. School Timetables/Availability of Extracurricular Activities & Transport:
If you have school-age children, school timetables may need to be taken into account when planning your daily work routine. Spanish state schools usually offer classes from 9am until 2pm. Early morning drop-offs (aula matinal), canteen (comedor) and extracurricular activities (actividades extraescolares) can help extend the school day from anything from 8am until 5pm in most areas.
Private and international schools have varying timetables. It is advisable to check these out before planning your work schedule.
The availability of school transport services can also allow you to add an hour or so onto your working day, subject to where you live and the location of the school.