These last few years, almost everything has been affected by the COVID-19 virus.  For developers, architects, and designers, COVID has changed the way they design, remodel, or construct buildings.

For example, in offices, there is more distance between work stations.  There are plexiglass dividers, movable walls, and improved traffic flow around work areas.  The reception area is now isolated from its visitors and visitors are now separated from each other instead of being grouped by those attached waiting-room chairs.

Past epidemics have had a profound effect on living conditions. In the early 1800s, due to unsanitary conditions, Paris demolished overcrowded medieval neighborhoods in favor of broad boulevards, wide avenues, and more open spaces. London changed its sewer system in response to the cholera epidemic of the 1850s. And to quash tuberculosis, the New York State Tenement House Act of 1901 required new buildings to have outward-facing windows and proper ventilation.

Touchless Options

People don’t want to touch surfaces where other people have laid their hands on.  Anyone who has taken their child to a children’s museum invaribly can attest to their child coming down with a cold or the stomach flu shortly thereafter.  You probably have started to notice an increase in touchless technology, such as “wave your hand” under water faucets, air-dryers in public restrooms, more “Alexa” or “Siri” home devices, and more remote-activated items.  Have you noticed there are no doors to public restrooms in airports or other larger public arenas?

Designers now specify building materials with anti-bacterial compounds, easy-to-clean spaces, built-in hand sanitizing stations, and improved ventilation.

Residential Changes

As you might expect, lots of people NEEDED to work from home the past 2-3 years.    Now, people WANT to work from home and love it–especially since gas prices are HIGH!  If you’re on conference calls during the day, you need a quiet space with few interruptions from family members or barking dogs. An “office” in the corner of a main room doesn’t afford you much privacy.  Working from home has become more focused & productive, plus allows for more work/life balance.  An added benefit is less stress getting all dressed up every day!

Your home work space does not need to be confined to just one room.  You may have a morning conference call at your kitchen island, some isolated, focused work done within your home office, and perhaps some afternoon work done on the backyard patio.  You might not be constrained by time either.  Perhaps some work could be done on YOUR hours–whether you are an early-bird or a late-owl.  You might also vacuum or mow the lawn during your lunch time.

As far as designing a new home, people are asking for flex rooms–perhaps with movable walls, or movable shelving.  Gone are the formal living and dining areas.  An open floor plan is now considered too open for students’ online learning, conference calls, or even TV watching.  Residents want better lighting, better air flow, sound control, and a sense of peacefulness with their furnishes and accessories.

Be Kind

As we all have had to adjust in some way or another during COVID, let us be kind to others as they struggle with issues that are not necessarily visible. Being isolated can be peaceful for some, but depressing for others.  It is difficult to share a cup of coffee and talk about an emotional or life-changing event online or on a phone call.  Let us find ways to connect with those who need a helping hand.

And as far as adjusting to work life, we all have had some difficulty in learning in how to set up a home office, download the appropriate apps or software, and cope with hosting a video conference call or teach a class.  I had to adjust my curriculum and obtain new computer hardware when teaching a home-staging class online.   It was an arduous process, but we all have to start somewhere.  I even learned how to upload videos to YouTube.  Check out my first YouTube video on “Moving to Madison.”  Click this link and subscribe (or cancel):

Contact Gina Newell, Premiere Stagers & Realty; 608-345-9396 for information on Madison WI, Real Estate, or home staging.