2020, what a year. Its forced rapid and uncomfortable disruption to our daily lives, resulting in massive changes, some that may be permanent.
The modern office space changed overnight. No longer do many companies need physical desks and workspaces to drive productivity. Huge employers have already declared their people will work from home until next summer, if not indefinitely. Some companies are exploring hybrid models once it’s safe to return to the office again, balancing the benefits of both remote and in-person environments. The open floor plan was already proving to be a dying fad, but the pandemic may have officially pushed it over the edge.
Additionally, retail may never be the same. Not surprisingly, during Q2 2020, e-commerce sales jumped 44 percent, while overall retail sales dropped by 3.4 percent. But storefronts will still always serve a purpose. Tomorrow’s largest consumer – Generation Z – already shows an affinity for the brick and mortar experience. Retailers and merchants will focus on innovations such as mobile integration, curbside pickup, contactless payments, and other critical enhancements to the shopping experience.
Fast food chains are leading much of this innovation, leveraging predictive arrival technology and mobile-only drive-thru lanes. While encouraging, higher-end restaurants that bank on hospitality, service and ambiance only their physical spaces can provide are still trying to stay afloat given new safety protocols and sanitization requirements.
Lastly, never in our lifetimes have our homes been more of a sanctuary for us. I’ve had many conversations with homeowners since this hit, and flexibility has become a key trend. While it has always been important, people NEED flexibility in their homes more than ever. Dining room tables are serving as offices, craft stations, homeschooling centers, and a variety of new uses. Durability and function are also more critical, as families are increasingly sharing spaces. With being home more, comes more wear and tear.
I’ve been working in interior design for over 15 years, and we’ve never experienced such drastic evolution in the way we use physical spaces. Admittedly, keeping up has been a whirlwind, and this evolution is not over. People will continue to adapt in how we gather, celebrate, worship, work, shop, and live in buildings, rooms and venues.
At G. Everett, we will continue to stay up on trends to aid our customers in navigating this disruption to ensure their physical spaces are comfortable, accommodating and most importantly, safe well into the future.