While the coronavirus still rages on us, making it hard to predict the possible post-pandemic future for many niches, the commercial real estate has someway been hit most hard, since many crucial things, from the use of sustainable materials to layouts and amenities in residences, have been put under a question mark.
As we approach the next stage of the COVID-19 era, the design of the environment where people live and work has gained more significance. The pandemic has been an impetus for stringent rules impacting things such as how we live our daily lives, how we treat our environment, thus starting the evolution of the way we design our living spaces, particularly communal areas in large developments!
Amenities we treat so easily offer a convenient lifestyle to residents and help create a sense of community and relaxation. Having a 24-hour concierge or gym in your building is very desirable and adds value to the apartment. Will it, or what kind of lasting impact will the pandemic have on these convenient facility services?
Lifts and doors – Creating contactless pathways through buildings
It is very likely that lift technology will improve in the post-Covid era, rationalizing the maximum occupancy of lifts and reducing overcrowding. This could also be followed by the ending of lifts with buttons or door handles and their replacement with smart technologies. We could start having apartment lifts requested by smartphones, and doors openings initiated by facial recognition or motion sensors.
Concierge and delivery services updating
Services of a concierge are usually the main hub of a development center, where residents come and go, and guests are greeted and taken care of upon arrival. Since these people are usually in direct contact with thousands of different people, there might appear the need to design concierge desks with glass screens.
Home deliveries and online shopping have increased since the pandemic, making space for concierge and delivery services to be looked at as an amenity that should be treated more carefully.
Many companies are not equipped to service a large number of deliveries due to limited storage space so developing space factors with secure delivery lockers that can be dropped off avoiding person-to-person contact is considered to be existential for firms working within these niches. Also, delivery tracking and notification updating via smartphones(s) may become embedded as part of the concierge service.
Vehicle storage and private gyms building
We may start seeing an increase in demand for a more secure cycle and other vehicle spaces as people start to opt for them over public transportation, as a way of coming to work. This also means building enlarged rooms so that equipment can be stored securely.
It is unlikely we will see an increase in small, compact gyms in the future, however, these spaces could be built as private exercise areas instead, with video screens allowing virtual training class.
Cleaning protocols to keep office building safe
Regular cleaning has become very important, especially for all communal areas. Hand sanitizer dispensers may start to be installed throughout buildings and the implementation of building-wide cleaning protocols can emerge, given all the instructions about hand sanitizers, hand washing, and wiping down hard surfaces with disinfectant.
Business lounges and meeting spaces
An immediate rethinking of how people congregate in office space has become a no. 1 priority for many office buildings. Huddling in a small conference room with poor ventilation is not good enough for people anymore! As we slowly gravitate back to our offices, it’ll be more likely to use conference rooms with half of the people it can accommodate. The virtual meeting will continue to be held often, but the business lounger and meeting spaces should get an upgrade in data securing and manipulating.
Adding outdoor spaces
In the future, as we leave behind closed, indoor spaces for colleagues to enjoy the mutual time, the adaptation or buildings additional roof decks and outdoor terraces, should be enough. Adding incentives for building owners to create these renovated spaces, provides work areas with fresh air, and allows enough social distancing. Business lounges and offices may evolve to become more spacious, with moveable, dividing screens between desks so people can sit further apart.
It is actually hard to exactly predict the lasting implications of the pandemic because humans are sociable and face-to-face interaction is important and necessary! That’s why technological improvements will be key in planning future amenity spaces and services, with minimal disruption to our daily routine.