So, it is reasonable to expect that returning to a perceived normal may not be that at all! Rather, we may very well decide to keep some of those “unwanted changes” in place, and, in fact, may incorporate and keep them as part of our recently and newly modified process.
Some of you may already have had a home office – exclusively, or in addition to an external, commercially located workplace. For you (and me) the adjustment for SIP was much easier. Our primary advantages were: (1) not having to create a new alternative, temporary workspace; and, (2) a significant reduction in travel time; and, (3) the temporary elimination of in-house client hospitality and costs.
For independent contractors who have only commercial setting locations and having to develop a new temporary set-up, it has been both inconvenient and stressful. Not everyone has “extra” space at their home location – such as an extra room in the house, an uncluttered garage or an attic loft large enough for double-duty.
Families with young children face additional problems – not the least of which may be noise management, attention and privacy factors and the added responsibility of home schooling!
The factor of eliminating face-to-face work with private clients has been handled, largely, by sophisticated Internet tools, email, snail mail and texting. In my world, doing a site walk and taking site measurements is somewhat mitigated with the help of online video and photo tools. Retailers, restaurants and other public service businesses face awesome circumstances. Interior design specialists are taking a hard look at what such businesses are faced with considering new ways to welcome their public customers.
We have all been assured that COVID19 is here to stay for the duration...and our planning has to look at many aspects. Here are three: (1) How it was. (2) How it is right now. 3) How to go forward, for after. In business, the days of shoulder-to-shoulder proximity are basically in the deep freeze – at least for the duration! Whether it’s a favorite restaurant, hardware, thrift shop or Big Box, our operations are now driven by social distancing and the use of PPE: personal protective equipment.
We can either stay stuck repeating and repeating the obvious –or we can get a grip and look at “space use and planning” with fresh perspectives for new paradigms!
Reconfiguring the lanes, lines and logistics of safe distancing, partnered with continuing excellent customer service, is the hot focus on your Interior designer’s drawing board. (...well, CAD!) Practical solutions and workable adjustments are evolving and developing. Everything from furniture and equipment to bizarro Interior configurations are being strategized to thwart this invisible and relentless adversary.
“Sometimes it takes a crisis to wake people up!” (Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the impacts of Pandemic) I’d like to paraphrase his thought. Sometimes it takes a crisis to wake up to better procedures and operations! It is entirely possible that you may have been thinking about some fundamental changes long before COVID19 landed on us with a big bang. Perhaps your business site was already dealing with obsolete traffic patterns, business growth space issues and other inconveniences. Maybe this Pandemic simply exacerbated the situations.
Let’s try to shift our thinking towards positive opportunities and away from discouragement and fears. Time may actually be on our side. We have all been forced into a slow lane with no set assurances for “when and how” we can significantly and confidently move forward in good health and with enthusiasm.
Meanwhile, communicate – and explore possibilities!
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo