Many of us are rethinking the kind of life we want to live post-pandemic and are re-evaluating the use of our homes for work, school, fitness and beyond.
The Nation’s Workforce Comes Home
As we move toward the new normal, many employees who are working remotely are also considering relocation. Some are leaving cities for small towns while others are choosing city life over suburbia. And, many more are reimagining home design to accommodate office spaces as well as fitness and entertainment areas.
For roughly the last decade, as the nation’s biggest metro areas have become increasingly unaffordable, some white-collar workers and freelancers who were able to work remotely ditched major hubs like Seattle and San Francisco for more manageable and affordable metro areas like Las Vegas and Austin according to a recent US News & World Report article. Now, thanks to COVID-19, the movement away from the biggest metro areas will likely accelerate causing a realignment in the geography of the nation’s workforce.
For those looking for new homes, Barbara Corcoran, real estate mogul and star of Shark Tank says the housing market will still have a phenomenal year despite COVID-19. “Everybody has been at home asking – is it a good school room, is it a good office? Everyone has reassessed the concept of home, and that creates a desire for change.” she said.
Flexible Open Floor Plans
The optimal word is flexible! Flexible open floor plans that offer the ability to physically segment, or define, certain areas such as an office or workout space, will be especially attractive to home or condo owners as we move toward the new normal with people using their homes for a multitude of work and leisure activities, according to Uri Vaknin, a partner at KRE Capital whose company owns multiple high-rise condo towers in Las Vegas, including Juhl in downtown Las Vegas and One Las Vegas on South Las Vegas Blvd.
Flexible open floor plans, like those at Juhl, easily allow for the addition of walls – permanent or temporary – to create fully functioning separate rooms for home-schooling and office space. Those choosing the convenience of luxury condominium living, also will be attracted to communities like Juhl in downtown Las Vegas which offers work-live configurations providing living areas on one level and work areas on a separate level.
If you’re still sitting with your laptop at the dining room table, you’re not alone. USA Today notes: most people (54 percent) didn’t have a remote work setup, according to a survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with USA TODAY and LinkedIn. Meanwhile, 74 percent of professionals age 18 to 74 said they’re now working from home.
To help people who are new to a home office set up, the tech guys with publications like Wired have been offering their best advice for must-haves from standing desks and relaxing chairs to monitors that will dramatically improve your work experience complete with mounting arms that help with limited desk space. And if you’re working from a laptop, remember to pick up a comfy mouse, which is more ergonomic than a trackpad. Plus, a good set of headphones can tune out the world, and your Zoom counterparts will thank you for using a separate dedicated webcam that enhances the quality of your video calling.
Outdoor Living and Entertaining
According to designer Christiane Lemieux, who recently spoke with AdPro, designing alfresco areas are going to take on increased importance post-COVID-19. Whether it’s a patio, garden, pool area or a fully landscaped backyard, home owners will be carving out their own private, fresh-air outdoor havens designed specific for their lifestyle. Designers are pointing to such elements as social distancing applicable seating; outdoor kitchens; serene fire and water features, and a place for recreational activities.
Particularly in condo settings, balconies and terraces function like backyards, only better, because they offer expansive views – a highly desirable feature in today’s world.
If those long Zoom meeting are zapping your energy, maybe it’s time to up your workout routines. Indeed, purchases of home fitness equipment from big-ticket items like treadmills to more basic equipment like dumbbells have spiked. Last year, online sales of fitness equipment rose 70 percent from February to March. This year, by comparison, sales increased 535 percent during the same period, according to Adobe Analytics.
If it’s time to move your workout from the living room to a dedicated area or room, the American Council on Exercise offers some useful square footage estimates for various pieces of exercise equipment:
Ultimately the type of exercise equipment your home gym requires will depend of how you work out and what space you’re using. Here are a few ideas: include a smart TV for streaming workout videos; keep it bright since darkness can sap energy levels, and use rubber mats to protect your floors while also reducing the noise from running treadmills.
“We don’t yet know all the changes a post-COVID-19 world will bring about, but one thing is for certain – the way we create live-work spaces will be drastically different than the way it was pre-pandemic,” said Vaknin.