2020 will be remembered as the year of the new coronavirus outbreak, and among its consequences, we can certainly record a marked increase in smart working, that is, remote work, imposed on numerous production activities following the lockdown. Smart working is certainly an excellent way to continue to maintain business productivity and jobs without endangering workers, but there are some notable problems.
First of all, the space: not all homes are designed to accommodate a small professional studio, nor can they be modified in this sense. The lack of space is a problem that has closely affected not only workers, but all Nigerian citizens during the months of lockdown, and in particular those who live in one-room or two-room apartments. For this reason, although the real estate market is somewhat unstable, we can say with certainty that one of the 2020 housing trends will be the search for larger spaces: quarantine-proof houses, with an adequate number of rooms to support a long permanence and multiple activities.
Larger homes? Yes, but not for everyone
The desire for space to work, relax and create is increasingly felt. In these very particular conditions, the real estate market is destined to change profoundly; and probably, this crisis will determine a decisive strengthening. Nigeria needs houses: at the moment, the most requested solutions of all are the three-room apartments with balcony or terrace, located in urban contexts with a rich offer of neighborhood services; naturally, there is also no lack of requests for independent homes with a green space, in single or two-family solutions.
It is clear that not everyone will be able to choose to buy a new housing solution; and considering the particularity of the Nigerian real estate, made up – especially in the city centers – of period buildings, finding a house that perfectly fits the new way of life that is looming on the horizon is really very difficult. Not everyone will be able to have a real home office, nor a dedicated space to cultivate their hobbies.
Thus, the existing spaces are transformed, adapting to new and, in many ways, more essential needs: the gardens and terraces are transformed into vegetable gardens capable of giving always fresh aromatic herbs without putting one’s nose out of the house, while unused corners of the living become, for example, perfect places to set up a small scenography for work video calls. With a little good will, it will be possible to make even a long stay in a studio or two-room apartment lighter. Now let’s see some useful suggestions.
Achieving Smart Working in Small Homes: Learning from Case Studies
Work from home seems very complicated for those who live in one-room or two-room apartments, especially with other cohabitants. But even for those who do not intend to invest in a new home, it is possible to make the situation more manageable in the long term. The secret is the reorganization, and the creation of modular and flexible spaces. By arranging the furniture in an unconventional way, it is possible to recover space in the most unexpected places!
Take a cue from the nautical sector
Having very limited spaces to spend long stays is a very frequent situation on boats and yachts. Precisely from the nautical furnishing sector, we could learn something about space management. Even in the smallest homes, it is possible to obtain that extra space which, during periods of uncertainties, such as the new normal we are experiencing, can prove vital.
The first feature of nautical furniture is the extensive use of wall units. The hanging furniture not only guarantees safety during navigation, but also allows you to obtain a useful extra walkable space. Even vertical space is actually usable space: with shelves and cabinets you can, for example, move the modem and the printer and store the PC at the end of the working day, freeing up the work table.
Furthermore, by using retractable fold-down tables, it is possible to obtain a satisfying work surface practically anywhere: once you have finished working, the table will be fixed (vertically) to the wall. The office can thus be transformed, with a gesture, into an empty and free space, where you can train, relax a bit or dedicate yourself to your hobbies.
The privacy issue: ideas from Japan
Traditional Japanese houses are characterized by a peculiarity: the rooms are not separated by real walls, but by large removable panels. This solution allows you to change spaces according to your needs with great ease and to obtain, when needed, an isolated room where you can work in peace.
Of course, Western homes do not allow you to remodel spaces as much as the Japanese homes described above, but taking inspiration from similar solutions, it will be possible to obtain more privacy even in a small shared home. For example, once the ideal place to create a small mobile office has been identified, it can be separated from the rest of the house with a large screen or, even better, with a retractable sliding door.
Will we really need bigger houses?
For those who start working in smart working mode with a certain diligence, – if not permanently – being able to count on a private and dedicated space will prove to be fundamental. Not only for a matter of privacy, but also (and above all!) for productivity.
Being able to work in a quiet, reserved and distraction-free environment is very different from occupying the kitchen table for a few hours, always thinking about family or domestic commitments. At the moment, one of the 2020 housing trends is precisely the search for extra space: and we are not just talking about the purchase of larger houses, but also and above all the desire to creatively obtain extra spaces in small structures.