As our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, we find ourselves examining the impact this pandemic will have on the way we work and live in multifamily communities. What has become clear is that professionals that once commuted to work daily will likely find that the office they left in early March will not be the office they return to.
As employers prepare to reopen, many have begun to plan for social distancing by creating less dense open office environments and meeting spaces, which means fewer employees per square foot. In conjunction, a lot of leaders have found that their teams are very productive working from home and happy to avoid rush-hour commutes, at least part of the time.
What seems evident is that more people will be working from home than ever before this crisis. Pre-COVID, coworking spaces had become a critical amenity in apartment buildings. Post-COVID, the demand will be greater than ever. Our job as interior designers is to embrace this work-from-home shift, and through design, we can create safe and healthy environments that draw us back together again.
0ver 1.9 billion people were online shoppers at the end of 2019. By 2021 that number is estimated to reach 2.14 billion. Grocery delivery alone is expected to grow from $111 billion in 2020 to $154 billion by 2023. This trend began long before COVID-19, so you can imagine the impact now. From food to clothing to furniture and sundries arriving by truck multiple times per day, the most significant amenity transformation in multi-family buildings is likely to be the package room. Along with this shopping trend has come the technology needed to relieve operations staff from the burden of managing this onslaught of packages. Package lockers and secure self-serve package rooms have become an operations necessity and a resident expectation.
In multi-family buildings, the space required to provide residents the package service they have come to expect is transforming the way interior designers program, space plan, and design. When so much space is required, why make package storage back of house?
Creating a package experience that looks great and functions well becomes an amenity that is a proud part of the tour and a feature that drives resident engagement.
Just as we got used to living small, the pandemic has forced us to examine how apartment units may need to shift to accommodate “staying home to stay safe.”
Eventually, we will move past the jolting adjustments we have all made over the last months. However, we believe this crisis will be an indelible memory. With amenities closed in multi-family buildings and residents sequestered, how many apartment dwellers are wondering if they need more or different space to accommodate a transformed lifestyle? Paradigm Companies have long been known for designing enclosed balconies in their high-rise multi-family buildings. These separate spaces provide a flex room that can be a roommate bedroom or a den and office. Their vision now appears to have been prescient. In the recently opened Meridian on First, these sunny rooms with glass sliding doors create a work from home experience not found in most apartments.
None of us know for sure how our place of work will change to meet the health concerns of the future. We are confident that more companies will promote telecommuting and that more residents will value an apartment, mindfully designed for times to come.
As we observe and honor this often-forgotten moment in history, President, Phyllis Hartman shares this letter to HDG employees and colleagues:
While racism in the U.S. has been the elephant in the room for centuries, the pandemic has exposed the suffering of our Black Americans. people of color, and immigrant communities like nothing has before. The loss and pain experienced in our country have left communities, institutions, and even our democracy tested. Our thoughts are with all of those impacted as well as their families and friends.
As citizens, this is not a time to be quiet. It is a time to reexamine our views, share our thoughts, seek to understand, solidify our beliefs, and stand together for what is right, compassionate, and just.
We stand strong as a nation when we embrace our diversity and come together to share our culture, creativity, and experience. To our colleagues in the Black community — we see you. You matter, your lives matter, and you are valued. To those of you who have come from another land and have chosen this country to be your home, thank you for all that you bring to our nation and communities.
The beauty of this country lies in the diversity of its people.
Carve out a space where distractions can be minimized. If you have a room that allows you to turn off the lights and shut the door at the end of the day, it will help you to separate work from your personal time.
Look the Part
While casual is fine, take time to look presentable. Resist working in your pajamas (no matter how cute they are). You never know when one of your colleagues is going to facetime you! And when you look good, you are more prepared to meet the challenges of the day.
Keep a daily schedule for work and personal time. Routine will help you to stay on task. To develop the mindset that will drive productivity, get up at the same time as you would on any other workday and commit to a time to “turn on the lights” in your home office.
For those of us who love to be around our colleagues and clients, working from home can be isolating. Take a break to clear your mind and boost your endorphins. A workout or a walk will sharpen your focus and help get you in touch with the world.
Eliminate background noise like TV, radios, podcasts, etc. Most of us are used to an active, social atmosphere and feel uncomfortable with quiet. Embrace silence and concentrate on the task at hand.
Control Urges to Multi-Task
In the office, there is no opportunity to bake a cake, run the vacuum, or throw in a load of laundry. When working remotely, fight the urge to get things done around the house. It can throw you off your work-from-home productivity.
Keep your workspace tidy. Straighten up at the end of each day so you can start fresh the next morning.