eTools Highlight Modern Day Office Trends

In this new COVID-19 world we’ve been living in, working from home has become more of a necessity than ever before. While “Home-based Businesses” have been around for many years, home based work and businesses have experienced a significant increase over the past nine months due to the pandemic, and they are anticipated to continue to grow (in both popularity and convenience) well into the post-COVID era.

Home-based businesses can be categorized as “no-impact” or “major-impact,” depending on their function, but regardless, must remain secondary to the building’s primary use as a residential dwelling. Municipalities can address home-based businesses in their planning policies and zoning ordinances, which include community benefits such as increased economic base, support for an aging population, expanded use of existing infrastructure, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced neighborhood conflicts.

Since not everyone has the ability or access to work from home, it’s important that when people do have to go into an office, they feel comfortable and safe. Because of the evolving office trends (more people working remotely from home, offices downsizing, etc.), “Office Park Redevelopment” becomes an important tool for traditional style office parks.

Although access to a safe working environment is essential, providing access to amenities such as green space, water, recreational facilities, and other enjoyable activities can help office parks attract new tenants, and satisfy existing tenants.

Some current examples of office park redevelopment include: The Ellis Preserve at Newtown Square, Radnor Financial Center, Oaklands Corporate Center, Great Valley Corporate Center, and East Whiteland’s Gateway Overlay District.

These eTools not only help to meet the needs of a changing workplace, but also support the “Prosper” goal in Landscapes3, as they help to “Grow our economic strength through developing and sustaining a skilled workforce, adaptable work areas, supportive infrastructure, a culture of innovation, and engaged communities.”

The Planning Commission’s eTools cover a wide array of planning topics, from natural resources to economic development. The tools are easy to read, providing a quick overview of each topic, a brief explanation of how it works, and considerations for addressing the topic or regulating use. An alphabetical listing of eTools is available in our Municipal Corner.