WORK FROM HOME
THE NEW NORMAL FOR HOMES
BY SHWETASHETTY | March 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic suitably termed as “the new way of life” has forced us to reconsider the way we live. Though there is no denying that these troubled times have definitely pushed us to put our life in perspective. It has taught us to value a lot of things which otherwise were branded “for granted”.
My brother has been working from home for the past 5 years. Whenever I mentioned this to anyone, a quizzical look is what I use to get. Not anymore. Now practically the whole of Mumbai, if not India has been working from home for quite a long time now.
As an architect, it has been a learning curve for me as well. New ways, new creative thoughts, new arrangements required to be incorporated in terms of living daily life. A simple act like going out to the market or for a walk is no longer simple enough. And how do we build and decorate in the future? How do we take the extra mile to stay healthy and maintain personal and “Home Hygiene”? As homes begin to play greater roles in our daily lives, how living spaces can accommodate the demands of this new, unforeseen era has taken center stage. We not only live here; we do our work here as well.
There is an urgent need to rethink the home space. Hosting a greater number of activities simply translates to a greater degree of flexibility and adaptability. For that, you need something more concrete.
Here are some of the trends which people are adapting post-pandemic as the home is where they are spending most of their time.
During this time, a lot of new concepts have been published online too. One which struck me as a brilliant idea was definitely the AD-APT system https://www.woodsbagot.com/projects/ad-apt/ designed by Woods Bagot (he heads an Australian Architecture firm), the design utilizes adjustable walls and screens in order to transform an open-plan apartment into various dedicated spaces. So, they not only have a different arrangement for the house during the day-time working hours but a different one for the night-time after work hours. Not to mention a simple layout having a bigger space for the bedrooms for the night mode. Creativity at its best!!
Dedicated workspace area at home and mainstream inside the house offices. That according to me will be one of the most sought-after design requisites post COVID-19. There would be definite demarcations between work zones from the rest of the house. This would not only result in more productive office hours but will also people to have a clear separation between working at home hours and relaxing at home hours. Comfortable office furniture and efficient storage solutions will be the next target products to be made or ordered online.
For many people working from home has been a boon in disguise. It has helped them improve their well-being and proven to be a really sustainable choice. The need to keep doing something to “doing nothing” to improve productivity has been a real game-changer. So, little relaxing and reading corners for that perfect “me time”, coffee breaks next to a window away from their workspace, these would be little joyful additions to an otherwise mundane design.
Adding green spaces will be another way to bring the outside in, taking the interior design to the next level. Since the onset of the pandemic, our appreciation of the outdoors and nature seems to have greatly increased. During the lockdown having a small garden or at least a small green belt outside the window is on top of everybody's wish list. Vertical gardens or your own kitchen garden will be the next hot trend to follow. Here too I would like to mention Brazilian architect Igor Leal’s “Buried Studio” concept which features a workplace designed into the front garden of a residence, allowing one to feel like they’re leaving their house to work.
Sensitivity towards home hygiene and sanitization will be of utmost priority. This will bring many interesting changes inside our homes in terms of “Tech and Home”. Air purifiers, indoor air quality monitoring, new filtration systems would need to be budgeted while designing homes. Germ-resistant materials for flooring and surfaces which till now had a market only in the hospitality sector will find new clients even in the home and commercial sector. Auto-cleaning technologies and ultraviolet lighting in entrance foyers and washrooms both in homes as well as commercial spaces could also become the new norm.
New transitional spaces between outdoor space and living spaces will be another important addition to the design sensibilities. Home deliveries and the need to sanitize everything including self before entering your safe sanctuary has become imperative. Entryways will become clearly defined transitional spaces where one crosses the barrier of uncertainty into certitude.
Read more interesting articles here, or find out our most recent design projects to get yourself inspired for post COVID-19 home renovations.
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