As any real estate advertisement will tell you, a really great accommodation option should offer you more than just a place to lay your head at night. It should be a place you think of as home, with the comforts and facilities you need to be your best self. That’s why over the past decade in India, housing providers have steadily competed with each other to offer their residents the best and shiniest of amenities, from the standard community lounge to resort-style spaces and recreation ventures. And it’s not just apartments in top notch complexes striving to get your attention. Even hostels and PGs aren’t far behind – trying to improve their offerings from basic to premium. No matter what your budget is, you can now find a space that’s more than just bed, bath and kitchen.
But then came COVID-19. And with its need for constant sanitisation, maintaining social distance and staying indoors, it has changed our relationships to our homes. We’ve altered the way we operate in our spaces and what we use them for. So when you’re moving to a new city, or looking for accommodation, there’s sure to be a huge shift in the amenities that you’ll prioritise. Let’s take a closer look at the biggest changes in amenity preferences in the post-pandemic world, and what you should be on the lookout for before you choose your new home.
Space and Design
Before COVID: Open shared space
After COVID: More WFH/Study from home space
Before the pandemic hit, there’s nothing you would have liked more than to come home after a long day at work to chill with your friends and family. You would have wanted a large open space, with couches, televisions and a communal table. But now that working from home is the new normal, you might want to prioritise a private space to take conference calls and get work done instead or be able to attend your online classes in peace. And this might be easy to incorporate into rented apartments, but you need to ensure that you’ve got this going even if you’re in a hostel or PG. Whether you’re coliving in Hyderabad or Bangalore, privacy can no longer end at the bedroom door. While community lounges will still be appreciated extensions of the coliving experience, especially if they’re regularly santised, features like phone booths or small conference rooms will prove to be more valuable in your day-to-day life.
Before COVID: Easy access to public transportation
After COVID: Easy access to parks and outdoor recreation
Think about it. How much time of your life have you spent on the metro rail? Well, it turns out that the average Indian used to spend at least 7% of the day commuting to and from work, before the pandemic. So obviously, living close to the metro station or a bus stop had to be an important factor in a resident’s life. But if you’re working or studying remotely, you no longer have to think about walking 25 minutes to stand on a crowded train and make multiple transfers, or how much traffic is on your usual route. So what do you need access to? Maybe your own transportation? Well, we’ve got a great answer for you. E-bike subscriptions are now readily available online and allow you to make the most of the outdoors in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way. And if your hostel comes with a parking space, you could even consider investing in your own bicycle and taking up cycling to explore your locale or get in your daily workout. You won’t be missing the crowds at the metro station any time soon.
Beyond the building
Before COVID: Cruise-ship style amenities
After COVID: Affordability and local community
If you were renting an apartment pre-COVID and spending a lot of time travelling to and from work, you’d probably love it if your building came with the most prized amenities like indoor pools or state-of-the-art movie rooms that would allow residents to access the entertainment of city life without leaving their homes. But with the economic impact of the pandemic and the shift towards minimalism, it’s no longer these “cruise ship style” amenities that we can’t live without, we prefer an overall focus on both affordability and local community. If you’re not spending a huge chunk of your day commuting, you’ll need to find other ways to get outside in your daily routine. So why not take a break from screen time and explore the option of outdoor recreation in your local park? Not only does green space provide a valuable refuge from your usual highspeed city life, parks make taking a break from the confines of your apartment so much easier without sacrificing safety or social distancing. And it’s not just parks, you can head out to a farmer’s market, join your local yoga group or laughter club, or even volunteer with an NGO that works outdoors. This a great opportunity to leverage community and neighborhood building efforts without escalating living costs.
So is COVID the end of lobby coffee shops, movie theatres and public transportation? Of course not, but developers and operators must be willing to adapt to and consider post-COVID life when designing and marketing their homes. This includes spatial and financial considerations – not to mention an increased importance on services like strong shared WiFi, timely, well-cooked meals, housekeeping and sanitation support etc. That’s where operators like Stanza Living come in. They offer state of the art fully furnished rooms with the best of amenities and maximum protection from Covid-19. From regular disinfection to the provision of sanitisers, thermal monitoring to contactless meal services, they’ve got your post-pandemic priorities in mind to nullify even the slightest possibility of transmission. So when you’re looking for your new home during or after the pandemic, keep these things in mind. This may be our new normal, but who says normal can’t also be amazing?