As a trend forecaster returning to Europe from a sabbatical travelling Asia, it´s a particularly interesting time to restart writing blog articles on lifestyle and design trends. Covid19, as it turns out, is impacting everyone, from those who have a stable home to those in temporary living conditions. In the last few weeks, the home had to become more flexible to adapt to changing needs in a period of limited movement for the majority of global citizens.
What makes home feel like home?
The many people, families, communities and businesses I have met previously as an interior design consultant and trend forecaster often had diverging ideas of what home should look like and what requirements this place needs to fulfil. However, until recently the essence of what home actually meant used to be more similar than many thought.
What does home mean essentially?
At the core of answers given to me during countless consultancy projects, for the majority of householders home is supposed to be the place that allows us to support our needs for rest, nourishment, self-care, protection and self-expression. Those needs may not be static and yet home was mostly seen as a place that should provide stability.
How does Covid19 impact the meaning of home?
This notion of stability is drastically changing in the age of Covid19. The home has to be more flexible than ever. As movement is reduced, Covid19 forces all of us to reconsider what we call home. Is it a place where we feel we belong, or is it just a place where we live? The longer the restrictions last, the more perceptions of permanent and temporary start to blur.
How does Covid19 change time spent at home?
As the pandemic spans the globe, most of us have to spend more time at home – or the place we live in – then we did in our pre-Covid19 day to day life. Many have to adapt their living spaces to incorporate new functional areas.
Work and Education from Home
In millions of cases, the home now doubles up as a workplace. Working from home has been a phenomenon that trend forecasters have closely monitored for several years. Figures had been rising and yet, aside from the odd home-office days for some employees working for mostly bigger institutions and corporations, those regularly working from home were mostly self-employed. In an attempt to slow down the spread of the Covid19 virus, many governments have now encouraged working from home for as many citizens as possible. Millions of householders suddenly find themselves in a quasi co-working space with their partners, children or flatmates. During the transitional period of schools worldwide learning how to facilitate remote education, more and more parents have to juggle home-schooling next to their workload.
Exercise at Home
The longer the global lockdowns last the more it becomes evident for vast parts of the population how much most of us regularly used third places like cafés, gyms, public places, parks etc. to extend what we call home. Particularly for those in cramped living conditions, not being able to leave the home can pay a high toll on their physical and emotional wellbeing. Nevertheless, we see many uplifting initiatives thrive to combat frustration caused by restricted movement. Neighbours gather on their balconies in urban areas to exercise with each other, yoga and workout apps such as Down Dog and many more offer their serves for free, to enable a broader range of the population to participate in their services during the lockdown.
How does Covid19 change how we use technology at home?
We can now observe an expansion of trends that had been building momentum in recent years. Megatrends Connectivity, Mobility and New Work as outlined by Zukunftsinstitut laid the basis for the relatively quick adaption we can now witness. The 21st century has seen an acceleration of relocations on a global scale – often for work, education or personal growth, which is more and more expected in today´s competitive job markets. For remote workers and students or travellers, it isn´t a new concept to work outside their regular workspace or have a shared meal with loved ones far away via a digital device. What´s new is an openness of broader parts of the population to utilise technology on a larger scale than anything we experienced before this pandemic. All of a sudden we hear of tech-sceptics revitalizing old friendships via video call – a function many had never used, despite being aware of the possibility previously. As new media theoretician Peter Weibel puts it we are evolving to the “first remote society in the history of humankind”.
What does Covid19 mean from a design, trend or lifestyle perspective?
For designers, brands, retailers and manufacturers there are plenty of opportunities now to cater to shifting needs of householders in times of Covid19. As an experienced design consultant and trend forecaster, I help you gain a clear picture of what your clients now need and how to navigate the changes we can expect in the coming weeks and months securely. Contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk about how you can adapt your services and product offerings in the tumultuous times we find ourselves in.