Post Covid: How will the pandemic reshape the business of design?

Post Covid: How will the pandemic reshape the business of design?

Design consultant Esra Lemmens on how "the most unsettling and far-reaching" COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping work culture and how different industries work.

Work from home, Future of work, Covid impact, Business of design, Commercial design 2020

How will the pandemic reshape the business of design?
Spring has always been an optimal time for the global design industry with open houses, exhibitions, fairs, and many other activities. However, most of those are now cancelled because coronavirus has turned the marketing-sales cycle upside down. Companies who earlier failed to recognise the importance of digital space are now chasing solutions. Many companies and design brands are on the path of digitalisation.

Design consultant, Esra Lemmens

Fashion has the amazing opportunity to put an end to the insane business practices, such as introducing cashmere in May and delivering swimwear in November. Disasters are known as powerful ignition tools for radical ways of transforming these business practices.

In the post-COVID-19 world we will witness the rebirth of small-scale, home-based production. In the future, product design will gain crucial momentum, and give shape to autonomous design on smaller scales, handcrafted in ateliers, hence keeping a privileged connection with clients and collectors alike.

While the pandemic has affected industries, on the whole, supply chains and production cycles are at a screeching halt as most production units are operating in countries that have become the epicenter of the deadly virus. For instance, China and Italy have a huge industry of furniture, and many countries depend on them for construction trades. Therefore, this crisis is also an opportunity for other companies to step in and step up. Moreover, in the future, we might be seeing local manufacturing at a larger scale.

The experts are emphasising the use of digital space for building commerce, nurturing relationships, and or operating behind the scenes. No matter what your industry is, it's essential to communicate with your team to do work smoothly and to make your clients feel confident. Now is the time to do that!  The world will not be the same as before; density will no longer be our destiny. We need to look at the digital infrastructure that can become our salvation. Many countries will fund the revival of production to their own shores. In the future, outsourcing will become more diverse and less excessive, meaning organisations will take better care of workers as well as the environment.

Home design will have to change in the future
In this uncertain environment of the coronavirus outbreak, the home has become humans' last refuge, especially for those who are living under quarantine. The comfort of being at and working from home, wasting time instead of money, has led people away from their addiction to material things and into a realm of sharing, caring and making. It has challenged our concepts of wellness, personal space, sustainability, and productivity.

This pandemic has pushed the companies to initiate working virtually. However, Work-from-home is not a piece of cake; it may not be as comforting as it may seem. Companies will demand spaces to operate the whole mechanism from home. As a designer, you will have to carve out spaces for clients that are not just a selling point. Instead, the focus will be on a workspace with a live-work environment.

To make this happen, What you will need is a flexible environment, a shape-shifting home, and furniture that is multifunctional. Plus, you also have to consider fundamentals, such as privacy and comfort, lighting, proper ventilation, and a small outdoor space. To keep up with the changing dynamics, you will need a boost in technology. For instance, remote workers will need high-speed broadband. Stable, high-speed internet is a pre-requisite for work-from-home.

It is also essential to focus on things that you usually touch and even the use of space. Ergonomics will become important more than ever before. You may not want to splurge on an elegant sofa or furniture pieces that occupy wider spaces if you live in a small home. Moreover, designers will need to focus on household items and furniture, which can perform both form and function.

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