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The New Normal: What Will Stick?

Some business practices will revert back to the way they were after the pandemic—while others are forever changed.

November 24, 2020
Zoom meeting with clients

Back in March of 2020, most people thought COVID-19 would be a distant memory by now. Today, many are using the phrase “the new normal” to describe the way we live today. The bottom line, however, is a basic question. Which changes will stick and which ones will revert back to the way things were when COVID is over?

None of us really know, but as a businessperson you should be thinking about this. You should be discussing this with your team. You should be preparing for what will stick and what will not.

The new habits that are being created are not just trends,
they are here to stay.

I spend most of my time talking to remodelers of all sizes. I follow industry trends by listening to manufacturers and distributors. I think there are many things happening out there that will stick and a few that will drift back to the past once the pandemic is behind us.

The following are three areas of remodeling that may be changed forever:

How the client will change post-pandemic

1) Clients will continue to make their home a top priority.

2) Clients will care deeply about who they are working with and who will be safe in their space.

3) Clients will see their house as having many functions, not just shelter.

4) Clients will focus on the health and safety of their sanctuary such as air and water quality.

5) Clients will be comfortable interacting virtually to make decisions and discuss the project.

6) Clients will want to stay put vs. moving if they like the community and the outdoor space.

7) Older clients will not want to move into assisted living where illness is more likely. Instead, they will try to remain in their home.

8) Men will be more active in the design and decision making process because they are home more.

9) Contactless interactions will continue to be important.

10) Reputation and differentiation will far outweigh costs in the decision process.

How remodeling projects will change 

1) Outdoor living is here to stay in a big way. 

2) Vintage styling is always popular, but clients will be less comfortable bringing old items into their homes.

3) Bathroom and kitchens will remain hot.

4) Open spaces will not be as desirable as defined rooms.

5) Energy efficiency will be here to stay.

6) Mud rooms will become the sanitation filter for entering the home.

7) Healthy materials will be a preferred choice.

8) Air and water systems will become the norm.

9) An innovative home office may become the most important room.

10) Project type and focus may shift with scarcity of certain materials.

Business practices after COVID-19

1) Team dynamics will need addressing in all businesses.

2) Employees will want flexibility with remote working and maybe some roles in distant locations.

3) Real estate will be looked at very differently with a reduction of square footage.

4) Leaders will need to be more empathic and engaged to bind the team together.

5) Technology acumen will be required for all roles. Zoom is the new meeting platform.

6) Safe work environment and schedules will be as critical as the design.

7) Business skills will be as or more important as remodeling knowledge.

8) Business transitions and sales will be a top priority in how you position the company moving forward.

9)   Marketing your knowledge and data will be critical to growth and profitability.

10) Mastering and owning the production element (people and processes) will be key to success.

So, while I do not have a crystal ball, I do know some things will stick and some may drift back to the past. Our history has shown that. The new habits that are being created are not just trends, they are here to stay, and the stronger companies will pivot, make these adjustments, and come out of the gate as winners.

About the Author


About the Author


Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at mrichardson@mgrichardson.com(link sends e-mail) or 301.275.0208.

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