The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we lived, and by extension, it also changed our living spaces. A staggering 42% of employees are now working full-time in their homes. Children also attend online classes and are mostly barred in public places.
Much is now demanded of our homes: they provide spaces for Zoom meetings and lecture conferences. They need disinfection areas for people who work in critical service areas, like hospitals and clinics. With everything else closed, homes have become the place for rest, work, and play.
Design, consequently, evolves to accommodate this demand. Architects and design experts see a shift in the way homeowners want their houses to be configured and laid out.
The Home Office
In the pre-COVID world, the home office is limited to self-employed and self-proclaimed workaholics. Work-life balance was a mantra among many employees, who preferred to leave work at their office desks and focus on rest and passion projects when they get home. The house, therefore, didn’t require space for office documents or sound-proof meeting rooms.
Now that almost half the workforce is performing their job responsibilities at home, there must be a room — or at least, a corner of a room — dedicated to office work.
Offices in the House
Many homeowners now converted a part of their houses into a home office, complete with an ergonomic desk, chairs you can sit on for hours, and enough light to help them pore over reports and sheets. These areas have a backdrop that’s professional enough to be presented during conference calls, like a blank wall, a curtain of a solid block of color, or bookcases. Ideally, the room is sound-proof to ensure that meetings won’t be disrupted by background noises or that the presenter’s voice won’t disturb the rest of the household.
Those with more spacious properties opted to build sheds that effectively delineate personal and professional life. These spaces are specially equipped with termite control and sound-proof functionalities. Office sheds offer the peaceful and productive atmosphere of an office and the convenience and comfort of the home. The commute takes less than a minute.
The Future of the Home Office
The Global Workplace Analytics estimates that people will still be working from home even after the worst of the pandemic has passed. In fact, up to 30% of employees will still be in this set-up by the end of 2021. Moreover, once companies have proven that remote work is good for productivity and cost-effective, some job roles, which have previously been exclusive desk work, might be permanently relegated to work from home.
As such, it’s safe to say the homes that will be built post-COVID will allocate space for a home office. And pre-owned homes with a home office will have an advantage in the market.
The Rise of Mudrooms
Mudrooms are spaces that serve as a transition from the outdoor to the indoor space. It’s an area where you remove your muddy boots and raincoats so that you won’t leave sludge all over the interior floors.
It was once a nice-to-have; many homeowners are content with leaving their booths out in the garage. However, such relaxed measures are discouraged in a pandemic. Everyone who went out and about should disinfect thoroughly before entering the house to minimize the possibility of bringing home contaminants that only digital microscopes can see. Mudrooms, therefore, have become a necessity, especially for households with members who work in healthcare.
Pandemic-Proof Mudroom Design
Mudrooms, far from the simple spaces of the pre-COVID era, are now fully equipped transition spaces with disinfection agents and storage for possibly virus-carrying outdoor gear. Some feature portable sinks for hand-washing and bins for quick disposal of masks and wipes. There are corners for contactless delivery of packages, meals, and groceries.
Mudrooms are also designed to be easily cleaned. The corners are round because sharp angles are harder to clean. Surfaces are made of smooth materials that can be quickly wiped down. The decor is not needed.
With limited options for leisure, families turned to gardening to not only pass the time but also supplement their pantries. It’s a phenomenon that’s observed in almost all quarantined cities. Seed companies have sold more seeds than they ever did before, and similar sales can be seen in gardening shops.
With the newfound appreciation for gardening, the home design would create indoor gardens and make the most of their outdoor spaces. Homebuyers would prefer living spaces with innovative technology that allows them to grow their own food.
Home design has always responded to the homeowners’ needs, so the pandemic will undoubtedly change the way people design living spaces. Properties that focus on workspaces, hygiene, and gardening will be a success in the housing market.