Even as Vaccinations Increase and Pandemic Slowly Ends
As vaccine roll-outs continue and scores of Americans are inoculated daily, life is slowly returning to normal. Massachusetts has entered Phase 4 of its reopening plan, increasing capacity at all venues and opening many shuttered entertainment and work destinations. Excited parents are preparing to send their children back to school full time, giving them the opportunity to return to their offices now that the hybrid homeschooling model comes to a close. Yet, even with this beacon of hope on the horizon, trends point to a continuation of the self-imposed restrictions that have become a way of life over the past year.
Wollaston Development, a landscaping and masonry company, partnered with SDI Architecture to build outdoor conference rooms last year to assist offices in transitioning to work safely and efficiently outdoors. The two Boston-based companies have a front row seat to the changes that homeowners and businesses are making to adapt to this return to normal, and they caution that even though people can go back to the office and enjoy a night on the town, many will continue to make their houses and properties their primary location for socialization, work and entertainment.
“With new mandates to get kids back to school, there is the thought that life will resume and parents will go back to the office, but that’s not necessarily the case,” said Ben Williams, owner of SDI Architecture. “Both businesses and employees have made major, expensive renovations and they will not be abandoning these large investments. Work From Home will remain at the very least an option for many people in fields that allow for the choice. Businesses are well aware of the cost-saving benefits of employees working from home, with the office as a social space for meetings and group work. We are designing offices with less space for individual desks and more space for collaboration. Additionally, office footprints have shrunk as businesses anticipate much of their workforce to continue to work remotely.”
According to NPR, more than 75% of homeowners did a home renovation project last year. Many homeowners have built home gyms, bars, lounge areas, work stations and updated their outdoor space to accommodate more aspects of life on one plot of land, often with a number of residents of varying ages. Popular outdoor modifications include eco-friendly patios, fire pits, and backyard kitchens complete with stovetops, grills and counter space.
“Folks have invested a lot of resources into making their homes and properties a place to work productively and safely gather with friends, and that is not stopping. We are continuing to see more and more home upgrades of all sizes, from outdoor kitchens to plunge pool installations in preparation for the summer,” said Michael Pallone, owner of Wollaston Development. “These cooling pools are perfect for smaller yards, where there isn’t room for a full-sized pool. The word is getting out that there is so much you can do with your space, whatever the size. After spending so much time at home, our views of what’s possible have morphed. It’s been wonderful to see the creative use of space that transforms a simple lawn into an oasis for the upcoming season.”
While we aren’t out of the woods yet when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring season is bringing renewed energy and joy to New England. After over a year of settling into the “new normal” and designing our spaces to reflect our new lifestyles, which for many has involved modifying their homes, Wollaston Development and SDI Architecture agree that many of these changes are here to stay.
Submitted by Wollaston Development and SDI Architecture