How has the use of your house changed during lockdown?

COVIC19 and lockdown seem to come so slowly and yet time has sped past. The effects on our lives, our work lives, our children’s lives have been profound.  Our homes have had to work hard and being in our own spaces 24/7 has highlighted different needs that we all require especially when we are there all the time.  I was listening to a discussion last week about how people use their homes and a few statistics stuck in my mind.

Before lockdown, working from home rates were

  • 4.7% UK
  • 3.6% USA
  • 14.1% Netherlands

The Dutch have not had to make the adjustments we have had to make – working from home has been part of their lives for many of them for a lot longer than us.  The virus is not going to go away anytime soon, so we are going to have to get used to working from home.  This then begs the question how?

Not only working from home but homeschooling – if lockdown or a type of lockdown reoccurs homeschooling is going to become more of a factor – perhaps this might become a wholesale change in schooling, changing the school terms and allowing, perhaps, some more flexibility to education.  Some children have flourished with a more relaxed timetable, but others have found the zoom lessons hard to concentrate and be involved with.

Saville’s estate agents have just completed a quick survey to find out how lockdown has affected how people think of their homes.

  • 39% will be looking for larger spaces – extending or moving to a new house
  • 49% think that working from home will continue and a home gym space is going to become important.
  • 71% want more outside space – is this going to be the flight to the country, people selling up in the city and moving out?

As interior designers we are going to have to work hard to accommodate all these new requirements, to make sure that we incorporate all these new needs, such as ensuring that technological needs are fitted into the home – adequate wifi/broadband/internet, two screens, office space for zoom meetings – with locking the door to keep out children, a home gym space – not a whole room, just somewhere the children can do the Joe Wickes workout first thing in the morning without trashing their rooms. Space for life and storage for everything.

Should we be separating working and home life more?  Should we as designers enable our clients to make this separation?  If home working is going to become more of a factor in our lives, then this separation needs to be made.

COVID is going to and, has changed much, it will be interesting to see if the new normal sticks and whether wholesale changes to our homes are really required, or will we slip back to the old normal quickly?

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