KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With the pandemic pushing many people to working from home full time, it begs the question: Will traditional office life ever come back?
Some businesses are rethinking their approach while employees weigh their remodeling options.
Rick O’Neill is the owner of RedesignKC, a full service Kansas City remodeling contractor in the metro. He said their leads for work fell off at the start of the pandemic.
But now they’re flush with interest from people spending overtime at home.
“Before we would have just like a sitting room or something like that in addition to the master bedroom/bathroom/closet. And now people are really focusing on making that an office space,” O’Neill said.
But while “modern farmhouse” are the big buzzwords in home design, “health confidence” are the buzzwords for people who work in commercial real estate.
Barry Gregson is the secretary treasurer for the BOMA Executive Committee. BOMA stands for the Building Owners and Managers Association of Metropolitan Kansas City.
“We’re going to a touch-free world. Some of the newer buildings are there. Some of the older buildings are not,” Gregson said.
To combat fears about COVID-19, air quality has been emphasized with new filtration and air flow additions in some buildings.
But property managers see a potential unexpected problem. Returning businesses might want more space for office employees for social distancing, which would reduce space availability.
But that’s a potential future problem – not one of the present.
“But again we’re all taking it very seriously, which I’m happy and proud to see that we’re doing that. None of us are taking this lightly. Believe me,” Gregson said.
“But you didn’t think it was going to last this long?” FOX4’s Jacob Kittelstad asked.
“No I did not. I did not,” Gregson said.
RedesignKC said they are seeing a bump in business because the housing supply around Kansas City is “understocked.”
That means remodeling is hot with COVID-19 remote working being an added motivator.
“Space is at a premium because people are moving more towards the urban areas. The homes are smaller. So you don’t really get a lot of the dedicated office rooms,” O’Neill said.
“I think the focus probably at this point in time has shifted to, ‘I need to make a comfortable space for me because this is here for the long term,’ it seems like,” O’Neill said.
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