Take 5: April 2021

Take 5

If you’re like me, you might feel like you’re finally emerging from a pandemic-focused reality. Three observations have particularly captured my attention recently.

1. Time and space

Working from home brought wonderful benefits to professionals that many want to maintain in the new normal. But the lines that can blur – between both physical spaces in the home where people work – and the mental space needed for rejuvenation – require unique design considerations that could foster healthy work from home boundaries.

Renown psychologist Guy Winch believes ruminating about work has increased with work from home. In his TED Talk, How to turn off work thoughts during your free time, he suggests that the lost boundaries of separating work from home – the commute, closing the office door, shutting down the computer – need to be recreated in the home office to allow workers time to destress in intentional ways. Interior designs could support this by integrating doors that close on workspaces or adding special lighting that can turn on/off for work and nonwork. Wired technology capabilities that enhance downtime with easily accessible music, fitness and other relaxation opportunities will help workers program their end of workday ritual. Multi-family residences may want to think creatively about incorporating new spaces for special activities that further delineate the separation of work from home.

2. Going somewhere?

The increase in numbers of people moving to Texas, as well as a few other cities looks like it’ll continue. But people are also on the move to medium-sized markets creating ample opportunities for builders and developers. There’s more to the story than good weather and/or proximity to family.

In addition to affordability, lifestyle expectations for those relocating, such as shopping, dining, recreation and infrastructure to support travel, play a key role in where the market will light up. Builder’s analysis in 2021’s Key Markets: Work-from-home Meets Migration and Infrastructure offers insights on some of these locations that will be interesting to track in the coming months.

3. Silver and Gold

The market often targets Millennials and Gen Zers due to the significant opportunities they present and rightly so. But Bloomberg Opinion columnist Andrea Felsted predicts a “Silver Surge” as Baby Boomers re-enter the post-pandemic world. Currently representing the wealthiest demographic, they lead active, wellness-minded lifestyles and are willing to pay extra for what they want. (I dig deeper into Boomers and characteristics of younger generations in my upcoming white paper.) Builders and developers can capture the energy of Boomers with designs and amenities that match their values and pocketbooks.