What the Pandemic taught Interior Designers, Architects, and Home Remodelers about Networking
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the interior design, architectural and home remodel industry faced a scenario of changing demands and customer preferences. At the same time, there was also a drastic transformation in the way businesses operate worldwide. Working from home has become the new way of operating in the interior design and architectural industry.
With new safety regulations, building laws, and SOPs to follow, there is huge pressure on this industry to meet the demands of clients. Protection of the employees is also an important consideration. For this reason, interior designers, architects, and remodeling businesses need to rely on a strong and effective network to facilitate working from home and other remote locations. Here are some tips on how to network during the Pandemic for interior designers and home remodelers.
Programs like Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom are reliable, effective, and secure ways of organizing and arranging such virtual meetings for your interior design, architectural or home remodeling company. Such meetings help enhance coordination and communication along with minimizing misinterpretations that might lead to inefficiencies and project failures.
The tools shared above and the lessons learned during this pandemic will help to make you a better and more efficient business owner. For more information check out our Resource Library for additional resources and marketing tips. If you want to speak with one of our experts contact us or schedule a strategy session so we can better understand you business and show you how we can help grow your business and your brand.
Ways COVID-19 will Impact the Future of Interior Design & Remodeling Businesses in 2021
The year 2020 has undoubtedly become one of the most challenging years of the current century. The rise and spread of the COVID–19 pandemic have brought several drastic changes in the way we live and run our lives.
One thing that has been strongly highlighted through this unprecedented outbreak is the enhanced importance of staying at home. As homes and apartments become the epicenter of all our activities, it does not only change the way we live in them but also the way we need to design and remodel them.
Although we are hoping that this pandemic will not last forever, it will still have a deep prolonged impact on our lives. So, there is an essential need to change the way we design our homes and living areas to meet the needs of the growing challenges. Every home should be able to offer utility, comfort, and a high quality of life. Attractive design and the physical outlook are important, but functionality and convenience have become vital.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) compiled a report on the subject of “Design Trends in 2021”. This report highlights the ways COVID 19 will impact interior design and remodeling of homes in the coming years. The findings of the report are based on a thorough online survey that was conducted by the NKBA in the American and Canadian regions. The survey respondents included a mix of designers, showroom owners and dealers, remodeling specialists, manufacturers, construction contractors, and architects. We did a blog in June on this very topic, “5 Ways COVID-19 will Impact the Interior Design & Remodel Industry”. This article is an update on that blog with assistance from the NKBA report and its findings.
In this article, you will read about the anticipated influences of COVID–19 on the way interior design and home remodeling trends will evolve in 2021 based on the given report.
So, let’s have a look!
More People are Looking to Remodel or Redesign Their Existing Homes
Understanding the importance of good interior design of your homes, more and more people are interested in improvising their current homes to make them suitable for various purposes and better living. Apartments and homes were once considered as a retirement place where you return to, every night, just to put your head down. No one expected to spend so much time at home being quarantined or in a lockdown situation. Because of the apparent financial downfall owing to the current situation, people would rather prefer to remodel their existing homes instead of buying a new one. People are looking for ways and designs, which can enhance the utility, comfort, and convenience of your existing homes.
Need for Increased Functional Areas For Work and Study
During the lockdown situation the world has witnessed many lifestyle changes, one of which is working from home and schooling at home. Every household now needs a specifically dedicated area for a small home office or where kids can pursue their online classes. There is a need for safe storage, bookshelves, a working desk, and a room that has no disturbances or noises. People are looking for areas within the home like the kitchen and living room where they can easily plug in their laptops and connect to virtual meetings along with other cloud technologies.
Need for Larger Storage Areas
In the future, people are looking to remodel and redesign their homes to have larger storage spaces where excess groceries, lifestyle supplies, toiletries, and even office stationery and files can be stored. Staying home for longer durations means you won’t be going out much. So, your in-house requirements for larger pantries, bigger refrigerators, and freezers are growing, so you would not have to go shopping again and again. The increased storage space is more preferred in kitchens and bathroom areas.
Easy To Clean Surfaces
Although the need for having clean and hygienic homes has been around since forever, it has become much more vital in the current COVID-19 era. With less help around, everyone is looking to clean and sweep their homes themselves.
People all around the world want their homes to have easy to clean and easy to sanitize surfaces. For this purpose, they are willing to remodel their homes and change their furnishings and fixtures to have simple finishes that are resistant to various cleaning agents, antibacterial liquids, and sanitizers that contain ammonia and alcohol. Preferences for objects made from natural materials that restrict the growth of bacteria and micro-organisms are on the rise.
Enhanced Need for Having Outdoor Living Areas
Surveying thousands of people from various walks of life and backgrounds, the NKBA has found that a very large number of people are now looking for better organized and larger outdoor living areas in their homes.
As the COVID–19 pandemic spread, people were restricted to their home, and outdoor and other entertainment activities like going to public parks, festivals, concerts, restaurants, and family get-togethers were all banned.
Therefore, people want to have relaxed large outdoor areas in their residence to have a good time while staying at home. Additional demand for outdoor kitchens, BBQ areas, decks and patios, pools and spas, balconies, and rooftop terraces is much anticipated in the coming years.
Technology Driven Comfort
Living in an era of digitalization and smart devices, technology plays a vital role in our daily living. Whether you are working from home, taking online classes, cooking, or indulging in entertainment activities, technology and devices are important aspects of how we live. The need for incorporation of the latest gadgets, electronic appliances, and uninterrupted technology-driven comfort is on the rise in homes and apartments.
To Wrap It Up
Designers, architects, remodelers, and interior designers anticipate a substantial impact of COVID–19 on the upcoming trends and customer needs of the industry. With a large number of people spending more time at home, people now are willing to invest larger amounts in re-designing and remodeling their homes. They are looking for living areas that are much more comfortable, easy to manage and clean, multifunctional, and have better storage solutions.
The demand for entertainment and outdoor living areas is also on the rise in the market. The industry players need to keep in mind these projections and anticipated changes in customer needs and requirements. Capitalizing on these design influences can turn this otherwise challenging situation into a productive opportunity for the industry.
KABMS has developed several Coronavirus Resources to help the interior design and remodeling industry. Take a look at our COVID-19 Resources page here to gain access to a marketing guide and resource guide to help you through this pandemic. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us so one of our professionals can get your questions answered or schedule a strategy session to learn how we can help you through this pandemic.
Like all other industries in the world, the COVID–19 pandemic, has left an indelible impact on the interior design and remodeling business. In fact, the design/remodel industry is learning how to deal with the changing requirements of clients and the challenges this pandemic presents.
How COVID is going to Impact Interior Design and the Remodeling Industry
Here are 5 ways COVID-19 will impact the future of the interior design and remodeling industry through changes in client requirements and décor needs.
1. Staying Home – Increased importance of home décor and interior design
Gone are the days, when homes were considered just as a place to rest after a long day’s work. One thing that was strongly advised by almost every healthcare advisor in the world was to stay home for as long as possible. This means that people would spend most of their time at home and that home living and residential design has become very critical for business, comfort, convenience, and safety in the long run.
2. Work From Home – Increased needs for better, larger, and functional work home spaces
Although many businesses have started to return to their offices, the importance of having a workplace at home has become essential for every individual and business professional.
For the interior design and remodeling industry, this is an opportunity to factor this into your design. People are looking for better and innovative ideas to create effective spaces in their homes or they are looking for ways of remodeling and converting their existing rooms into a home office.
3. Be Prepared – Increased need for better future planning
Being a business that is strongly dependent on suppliers and vertical networking, every remodeling and interior design company must plan proactively for the future. They should foresee the demand of their clients and ensure an uninterrupted supply of materials, skilled workforce, and home décor items.
The company’s ability to complete projects on time without any delays can only be possible through effective and efficient planning. Although the operations of the overall business world are slower than before, the company should ensure that all timelines are set keeping in mind unforeseen contingencies.
4. Social Distancing – Need for Change in the Work Place Design
As the social distancing requirement becomes more and more important, there is a need to remodel or transform the workspace accordingly.
This is an opportunity for interior design and remodeling companies to come up with innovative ideas and effective space planning for implementing social distancing designs in the corporate world.
5. Restriction in Outdoor Activities – Increase need for private outdoor spaces
With COVID–19 threats around us, there have been restrictions in social mingling and going to parks and other outdoor areas. Keeping this in view, more and more people are focusing on having their own private outdoor spaces.
Interior design and remodeling companies need to capture this market by providing new ideas and creative designs to transform even the smallest of spaces into a comfortable and attractive living area.
We have developed several Coronavirus Resources to help the interior design and remodeling industry. Take a look at our COVID-19 Resources page here to gain access to a marketing guide and resource guide to help you through this pandemic. If you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us so one of our professionals can get your questions answered or schedule a strategy session to learn how we can help you through this pandemic.
As states around the nation are setting timelines to restart life and reopen economies, businesses are now contemplating what these orders will mean for their operations. It’s becoming a new challenge to bring back the employees and maintain their safety as well.
Different states will have different safety guidelines, so the businesses will have to stay updated on those guidelines to abide by the law. However, how dramatic the effect of the virus will be on the businesses depends on the nature of the work involved and the location of the business.
Many organizations that are able to work online can manage their employees remotely but the other businesses that involve social interaction are still in flux.
As you know, in the kitchen and bath remodeling industry, you have to interact with the clients, visit their homes, and complete your projects there. It involves a lot of social interaction and exposure. So, this made us ponder on how to reopen a kitchen and bath remodel business after the quarantine period is over.
After much reflection, speaking with clients and other professionals, we have come up with some useful tips on how you can restart your kitchen and bath remodeling business. Here they are:
4 Ways to Restart Your Kitchen and Bath Remodel Business
1. Maintain Engineering Controls
Engineering controls include the practices where you isolate your employees from work-related hazards. These types of controls do not rely on the worker’s behavior and use cost-effective solutions to reduce exposure to hazards.
Here are some engineering controls you can implement in your companies for COVID-19:
2. Practice Administrative Controls
Administrative controls are the ones that require prompt action by an employer or an administrator. These controls refer to some changes in the work procedures or policies to reduce exposure.
Some of the examples of administrative controls include:
3. Follow Safe Work Practices
In this area of practice, employees are equally involved in maintaining a healthy and safe work environment.
Here’s what employees and employers can do to maintain hygiene in their offices:
4. Reschedule Appointments with Medically Serious Clients
Hold all client meetings by video conference that can be done that way and if in person meetings are necessary install hand sanitizer at the door for the clients who visit your office. Make sure to maintain safe distance from all clients and encourage them to wear mask when visiting your office. Consider doing some E-design with clients that prefer video conferencing meetings.
If you have clients with a compromised immune system and serious medical conditions, send emails to them requesting to reschedule the appointments. Avoid visiting or meeting clients that show signs of cold or fever. Instead, talk to them by video conference or on the phone and ask them to delay their project for a while for the safety of your employees. This will slow down your business process for a few weeks but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
With the uncertainty in the industry due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is vital that business owners get a handle on what is happening in their own kitchen and bath remodel business. Daily I get asked by clients and I listen to other owners in the industry ask what they should do to manage this crisis.
The first thing I always say is don’t panic, in times of anxiety people look to others for leadership and assurance that everything will be okay. You as the business owner need to be that leader to reassure your clients, we will get through this and you have a plan to help do just that. Below we discuss several items every business owner in the kitchen and bath remodel space should be doing to manage this crisis and come out better on the other side.
First and foremost, if you have not already reached out to every client and prospect on your list you should do so, NOW! Check in with all your clients and prospects to ensure they are doing okay and let them know you have a plan in place going forward. Talk about how you will conduct your business going forward and share how your team is adhering to the latest guidelines in safety (social distancing, hand washing, staying home if sick, etc.). Especially the clients where ongoing projects are taking place, reassure them that your remodeling crew is taking the necessary precautions to wear gloves, mask, sanitize all areas where they are working, etc., in order to put their mind at ease.
At this time, you must communicate with your client to let them know that you understand the time we are living in now and you have taken the necessary steps to address any issues that might arise. This will help give your clients a peace of mind to allow you to keep working on their project in their home. If you feel comfortable, I would suggest making a video of your plan of action and sending it out to your clients and prospects and then following up with a phone call to ensure they understand how you are going to implement your plan.
Be Social, Digitally
Many business owners I speak with have not been engaging in social media at all over the last few years. If this is you, now is the time to get social, digitally. With people at home with their kids, this is where your prospects are. So, you need to be where they are and engage. In addition to the Facebook and Instagram of the world, join groups in your local area like NextDoor and Meetup so you can communicate with people in your immediate area that may be looking for services you offer. I have many clients that have gained work through these and other online groups just by being social and engaging with their local community members.
Engaging with these social media channels is not as time consuming as you might think. Set aside 15 - 20 minutes a day to check out what people are saying, offering suggestions and advice where you can and move on to the next part of your day. Remember people will not look at or care what you have to offer until they know you care. Being social is easy, and it's a good way to grow your stature in the community you serve.
Learn New Tools
Many business owners in the kitchen and bath remodel space are not used to working remotely let alone allowing their team to do the same. This is the perfect time to learn about the tools available for making remote working more efficient. With the technology today you can run a virtual meeting, share secure documents with your clients and manager your team all from your smart phone or mobile device. Access to these and many other tools are available to make your business more productive while working remotely, and many business owners just don’t know this technology is out there.
Take some time to look at your internal systems to see what tools are available to make your processes run more seamless. We have put together a resource guide for business owners in the kitchen and bath remodel space to help you understand the critical tools you need to run your business remotely. Click here or on the image to download the resource guide.
On page 4 and 5 of the resource guide, we go over these tools with links to sites that conduct an in-depth analysis of the most popular apps/platforms to accomplish these task with prices and pros/cons to each software package. This is a most read if you are not sure where to start when deciding on the tools you will use in your business.
Reassess Your Offerings
If you have not had a chance to review and reassess your service offerings in a while now is the time to do so. Make sure your offerings are current with the needs of the clients you are serving, and the prices reflect your level of expertise in those areas. When doing this review, you may find some services you offer are out of date and can use a refinement or some services are not really utilized and can be combined with something else you offer or taken out completely.
Also think about service offerings you may have always wanted to do but did not have the time to develop and implement. Have you thought about digital design services which can help you reach a larger audience outside of your immediate locale and pertinent in this day and time? If you have not seen the inaugural webinar the NKBA put on in their series called ”Brave New Business”, click here to watch the recording. The panel offered great advice for new digital services you can offer in your company along with best practices they are experiencing in the field.
Get Your House in Order
Getting your house in order refers to managing your business finances, but with the situation today it also refers to structuring your home in a way to be conducive to working from home. As we discussed above reassessing your service offerings is a good thing to do now but looking at your company finances is essential. Go through each expenditure in your budget to make sure all expenses are necessary and critical to running your business. Do some research to see if you can accomplish the same goal with another tool in order to cut some cost. By reviewing all your expenditures, you may find you can save enough money to buy needed equipment/supplies, retain employees, pay off debt, and conduct your business more efficiently.
For those business owners that are doing fine you may want to look at bringing on quality talent (if it is financially feasible at this time). You may have an open position that needs to be filled and with the amount of talented people looking for work you may be able to find your ideal candidate. As we know finding good people can be difficult but if you are in the position to bring in someone, now may be the time to find the person that can set your business a part from the competition once we are out of this crisis.
In terms of space, make sure you have adequate space in your home to operate effectively. With your kids at home it is important to establish your own space so everyone in the house knows that the area you carve out is your workspace that is off limits between certain hours. While many parents are getting used to working from home as well as educating their kids, it is important to set schedules for when certain task will take place. Getting your kids on a set schedule is good for their psyche and allows them to function better with their class work knowing there are certain times when this will take place. This will also give you the necessary time to get your work done as well. A good article in the business insider on how one family accomplished this can be read here. The insight can help all parents get a better grasp on working from home while educating their kids at the same time.
In addition to your financial well-being, look at the loans available through the federal and state government to help businesses through this crisis. There are a number of programs available to business owners to help them stay afloat during these rough times. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce prepared a PDF document (click here) with a checklist and guide for small businesses to help them understand the different loan programs available. There are a number of resources available to help businesses bridge the gap between this crisis and getting to the other side. Take advantage of the programs available and talk with your local banks to see what other resources they have to help you get through this.
As mentioned above in a time of crisis people look for reassurance and optimism. Make sure you are communicating this with your clientele. There is more then enough doom and gloom on the news, but you want to make sure you are a source people can rely on and trust. When your current clients and prospects know you are on top of this crisis with a plan of action, that helps build you as an authority in the field and a person to look to now and when this crisis ends.
This crisis to shall pass and you want to make sure when it does that you have taken the necessary steps to not only survive but thrive once we get ready for the new normal. We are not sure what that new normal will look like, but by reassessing your current business model and preparing your business accordingly you will be ahead of the curve when this crisis does end.
Kitchen & Bath Marketing Solutions sends well wishes to everyone during this time of crisis and if you have any questions or need guidance don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know. Our staff is ready to get your questions answered and guide you in a path of success now and into the future.