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Telework Experience
and Preference
Worked from home before
the coronavirus outbreak
Currently working from home
(Survey conducted October 2020)
Would want to work from home
after the coronavirus outbreak ends
JQ: The pandemic led to a perhaps only temporary shift
away from city living and from heading to an office on a
daily basis. What have these shifts meant for the interior
design profession?
SC: The pandemic created a 'pause' in many facets, and many
who took this as a moment to rethink their values in life and
where/how they wanted to live it out made changes. We have
yet to know whether these changes are temporary or permanent,
but regardless, this has highlighted the need for increased
agility. A silver lining the pandemic offered for the interior
design profession was in people's heightened awareness of
our surroundings. Shutdowns/lockdowns, remote work, and
physical distancing opened the eyes of many on the importance
of interior space, both the invisible and visible components of the
environment. These shifts enabled more ease in connecting design
with health, including physical, mental, and social wellbeing,
physical and psychological safety, along with beauty and joy. The
appreciation of a well-designed space that supports the purpose
of its use will help people to realize the value design brings to life
in all types of spaces. Interior design business may have boomed
in residential more noticeably thus far, but we should expect
design emphasis in other market sectors to follow as well.
JQ: Between COVID-19 and the climate crisis, sustainable
and healthy design has never been more in the foreground.
What does this mean for interior design going forward?
SC: Similar to the trend in revisiting fundamental values, the
interior design profession has also re-examined its role in
promoting the health, safety, and welfare of people and the
planet. Although sustainability and health have been at the
core of interior design for years, this past year has accelerated
the demand and brought us the energy and support needed to
make meaningful strides. With increased interest, knowledge,
and demand from clients and businesses, interior design will
need to be abreast of these issues and address them in specified
products and overall projects. Detailed product information like
material transparency will be sought out more, pushing for more
conversations and collaborations among design professionals and
manufacturers and leading to industry innovations.
JQ: Zoom, Teams, FaceTime... we lived on them this
year, and the design industry put them to use not just for
staff collaboration but for client meetings, virtual walkthroughs,
presentations, trade fairs, and more. Did we
leapfrog into the future in our understanding of virtual
living and business? How much of this will remain?
SC: Research begins by testing the extremes. If you don't
see significance in the extremes, most likely, you won't see
significance in between. The pandemic pretty much forced a social
experiment on virtual interaction. For some, this may have been
the extreme opposite of what they had practiced pre-pandemic.
Those who saw success, satisfaction, and/or value in virtual
living and business will most likely take the best practices and
lessons learned to implement in their practice to some degree
moving forward. This thrust towards change may have been
uncomfortable at the beginning; however, the conveniences we
experienced will be difficult to disconnect from unless a more
valuable and pressing reason takes us in another direction.
JQ: The pandemic turned the world's attention to
the comfort, functionality, and aesthetic satisfaction
provided by their homes. How was this reflected in
the greater economy?
SC: Consumer spending surged up 20 percent in 2020 from
remodeling activity. As people spent more time at home due
to shutdowns/lockdowns and remote work, more investment
was put into their surroundings. The home, which had been
repurposed as an all-in-one space operating 24/7 (workplace,
school, restaurant, retail store, entertainment venue, living
space, etc.) needed to accommodate these multiple functions.
Some expanded to outdoor space while some went in search for
larger space. Low interest rates also helped the housing market
boom during the pandemic as people took the time to purchase,
relocate, or refinance. The greater economy had experienced a
recession, but interior design for the home found quick recovery.
JQ: As we move beyond these unprecedented times and
look ahead, what will be most important for the success
of the interior design profession and the relationship
between people, their spaces, and the designers who plan
and create them?
SC: The importance of the indoor environment and its role
in health, safety, and quality of life through interior design has
never been more discussed and attended. This is a promising
time for the interior design profession to build trust with other
professionals working in the built environment, current and
prospective clients, and the general public. This is our moment
to break down any misconceptions of the limited scope that
interior designers may have been perceived of doing at surface
level, shed light on the expansive services we provide through
our knowledge and skills, and reinstate the true value of
interior design.
The ASID 2021 Outlook and State of Interior Design
is available for download at asid.org/resources/research.
The report is free for ASID members; non-members may
purchase the report for $249.95.
i+D - May/June 2021

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