As companies learn that business can be conducted via Zoom calls and their employees can be trusted to work remotely, they might decide their pricey Manhattan and Boston office rents are no longer required- or at least they can get by with much less square footage. Some companies may even decide to move south where costs are less. Some organizations that were previously reluctant to allow employees to work remotely were forced into this experiment as a result of COVID-19. Most Human Resources executives have been championing the idea of workplace freedom and embrace the idea to encourage cultural change in their companies. Leadership everywhere is curious to get management feedback on the effectiveness of working remotely. I suspect a mix of office and remote access will win in the end. Whatever the result, change is inevitable.
Like companies, cities will likely have to re-invent themselves too, especially places like New York where people tend to congregate in groups and are frequently packed in tight spaces together- this will all change because sadly, experts are still forecasting that the spring 2020 pandemic is not over, and we will once again be in lock-down.
While companies and cities are rethinking their plans for a post COVID-19 environment, have you thought about your own life’s choices- where to work, where to play and where you want to call home? Families, even college students, are rethinking their life’s decisions. Was living at home so bad that they should continue to incur more debt by paying for room and board? Even universities are thinking about what a post COVID period might mean to them. A professor of mine at Quinnipiac (yes, I take Graduate classes) co-authored an article about the future of colleges and universities that you might find interesting; things are definitely changing - like it or not.
Are you a city-dweller suddenly in search of being around less people and desiring more fresh air? If you answered yes, I don’t think you are alone. Or, if you love the city and want to stay, you might be thinking of a new neighborhood with more parks or where you can find a little more living space. My mom and my brother Darrell are Realtors for Coldwell Banker in Southbury, CT. Darrell commented yesterday that “the market is severely limited by inventory; in the past two weeks we have seen a tremendous spike in buyer interest; people have a pent up demand and they are getting anxious to make a move. Also, June is traditionally the best month to buy a home, further amplifying the need for more inventory. Couple the timing with low interest rates, and it’s a seller’s market.” The traffic is coming from people living in New York that have decided to relocate to Connecticut or to buy a second home in the area. I saw this demand first-hand when a friend listed and sold her house within 48hours after a bidding war, so if you are thinking of selling in western Connecticut, now might be the time!
For others, we find ourselves painting the insides of our houses to make them feel alive again, refinishing furniture, hanging new prints or creating a new appealing bar area with new bar accessories - did you know cocktail hour is back as a result of COVID-19? People are taking a few minutes to find a routine in their day, to relax and talk to one another. My brother Paul who sells wine and spirits shared this NY Times article with me; it made us laugh as we fondly recalled “happy hour” as kids. At 4pm everyday our Great Aunt Norma, a retired Lieutenant Colonel (Army Nurse) who fought in the Korean War, would literally scream “happy hour” to alert us that it was time to gather around. She’d have us pick out a cocktail napkin from her stash and determine our beverage of choice. She would serve us all at the same time, and she delivered our drinks to us on a beautiful tray. She always made it such a fun event, even as children we were served Shirley Temple’s with a perfectly garnished cherry on top.
So, wherever you call home, whatever you choose to do, I hope you delight in your space, your routine, and your journey. We all deserve the freedom to relax and enjoy our lives anywhere and anyway that makes us happy. Don’t forget to visit our website for lots of fun items for your home, for you, and for your whole family; we’re getting new things every week so check back often.
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Chris and the Piper and Dune Family