Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly everyone is spending a lot more time at home. As a result, many of us are exploring (and often for the first time) whether our homes actually work for us. A new focus that I think will lead to the following trends after we return to some kind of normality.
A home not a house
I think it’s almost certain that post-corona we will continue to spend more time at home. I expect this will lead to people really evaluating whether their home is something they enjoy living in.
For many single professionals, gone will be the time where we just want a space with a bed to crash and a fridge to feed us. Instead, I think outdoor areas (whether a garden or a balcony), the living space offered by our homes, and light, décor and furnishings will become far greater priorities.
Home as a place to work
Lots of us will have worked from home for a few weeks now. But not many of us will have a work set-up that’s ideal. Maybe your WiFi signal isn’t particularly strong or your broadband speed slow. Your dining chair isn’t comfortable enough to sit on for seven hours solid. Or you’ve got a terrible crick in your neck after spending lots of time working on a laptop.
In the future, I can see many of us upgrading our homes so they offer a far better environment to work in. Homebuilders will start to consider the needs of homeworkers much more. And businesses will provide greater support to their employees so they can work from home or in a Cospace.
Homes that boost physical and mental wellbeing
Most of us probably didn’t even know that you can create or live in a home that boosts your health, wellbeing and happiness levels. But that’s definitely the case. And people who live in homes that feature lots of natural light, good air quality, soothing colours, furnishings and plants are likely to be feeling far better at the moment than people whose homes don’t offer these things.
As a result, I think people will increasingly want homes that bring in fresh, clean air and expunge hidden indoor toxins; maximise the use of daylight; display colours and artwork that are good for the mind; and feature lots of plants and other greenery.
Rise in green and sustainable solutions
One of the huge positives of this time has been the impact it has had on our environment. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents. People are enjoying cleaner air and clearer water. Wildlife is flourishing.
My hope and assumption is that this will lead to many more people assessing their own impact on the environment and choosing green and sustainable solutions in the future. This could be a lifestyle choice like eating less meat. Walking or cycling rather than using a car. Or in terms of a home, building or retrofitting a house or flat so it has lower carbon emissions, reduces its energy use and provides more opportunities to grow home produce such as veggies.
Virtual Events and Real-life experiences
It’s been really cool to see the rise of virtual gym classes, cultural events and educational activities. I expect many will disappear in time but some are likely to stay as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if virtual events become a new platform for marketers to promote their products. Maybe gyms will offer a virtual trial workout session to potential members; maybe more entertainers will provide virtual teasers, and maybe we’ll all do our flat and office viewings online now.
If this is how the future is going to look, then I can only imagine that people will place even greater importance on the comfort of their homes. We will want to create super relaxing environments in which we can travel the world, experience a live concert, or do 30 burpees followed by 20 jumping jacks.
That being said, the virtual world can offer a lot. But the simple fact is that humans are not meant to isolate for too long. Most of us actually love interacting with each other. And we often love this the most when attending an event or being part of an experience.
In fact, research shows that 72% of millennials would rather spend money on experiences than on material things. Although that figure may drop in the short-term, I expect live events and experiences to come back with a bang. People will be desperate to go to a gig, visit the latest art show, or just do something life-affirming with friends.