It has become difficult to truly comprehend how the pandemic has changed our lives. Part of that is down to the sheer scope and scale of its impact. But it also has to do with how quickly we humans have adapted.
Topics such as social distancing and remote work were once at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Inevitably, however, they’ve just become a part of our daily existence over the past year or so.
At first, people couldn’t stop speculating about the ‘new normal.’ The inexorable passage of time has grounded us in realizing that whatever we’re living in is a new reality. This has profound implications for how we build and improve upon our homes.
You can watch a vlog or consult with an expert for real estate tips on buying and selling property or making high-ROI upgrades. But are you asking yourself the core questions of what makes your home a great place to live in amid this changing and uncertain world?
The pandemic and its effects
Make no mistake, construction professionals and housing experts are definitely studying this matter. It’s in their best interest to stay on top of trends to succeed in their field and provide good advice to clients.
But the issue of how you live at home is highly intimate and subjective. Where do you start evaluating what has changed in your life when you’ve probably become somewhat acclimatized to the changes inflicted by the pandemic?
The immediate impacts are still evident and will probably remain a strong consideration in the future. Studies predict that residential construction will prominently feature indoor air quality and ventilation, contactless technologies and antimicrobial materials, and better green spaces for physical and mental health.
However, the pandemic also gave rise to second-order effects and their resulting needs. People will continue to work from home. Likewise, distance learning projects as a staple of children’s education moving forward.
Before 2020, most people wouldn’t have dedicated a room to be a home office, video conferencing backdrop, or conducive learning environment. New homes need to be built with these higher-order considerations in mind. Existing ones will likely call for upgrades in those areas.
The call for sustainability
It might not be readily apparent, but the longstanding issue of climate change has really spurred the pandemic of 2020.
Human exploitation of natural resources has historically led to globalization. When local resources are depleted, we turn to commerce with more distant areas. The modern ease of global transportation, in turn, has undeniably facilitated the spread of Covid-19 all over the world.
Unsustainable consumption of resources and mismanagement of waste is a driving force behind the climate crisis. Climate change and increasing pollution make you sick and thus more susceptible to the pandemic. It was quickly established that people with existing respiratory illnesses are at a higher risk of Covid-19 infection, with worse outcomes.
We can’t ignore the connection between the pandemic and environmental issues. Architects and designers in the built industry are aware that our structures account for 40% of energy consumption and nearly half of emissions.
Seeking out sustainability in our future homes is the socially responsible thing to do. Better materials and design will lead to increased resiliency and more efficiently regulated indoor environments. Making those changes sooner than later will yield greater cost savings and a more livable home in the long term.
Keeping humanity at the center
In 2019, Accenture published a multi-disciplinary study on the emerging needs people seek in their future homes. The core issue was that smart home technology, already widely available at the time, was not seeing mainstream adoption.
The study was oddly prescient, given that only a year later, people would be forced to spend more time indoors and conduct most of their activities from home. They concluded that the failings of home technology generally stem from being overly product-centric.
People don’t necessarily relate to cutting-edge innovation. How we live at home is a unique mix of our practical and emotional needs, personality traits, and attitudes towards technology. Factors such as being single or having children can also play an outsized role in influencing our mindset in this regard.
No doubt technology will feature in your home of the future. But it will only be significant if it serves your human needs.
More than anything, homeowners will demand a wide range of personalized options. Don’t settle for cookie-cutter builds or accept features as is. Be prepared to wield your ability to customize your future home down to the minutiae.