Real Estate

Out-of-the-box thinking: Akshaya to reboot apartment design post-Covid

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

Exclusive rooms for hygiene and quarantine will be part of the package

Chennai-based real estate developer, Akshaya, is planning to work on a series of design initiatives for homes, keeping in mind likely changes in consumer behavioural patterns once Covid-19 passes over.

According to T Chitty Babu, Chairman & CEO, the company is now seriously looking at incorporating new design aspects for its apartments, going forward. “Decades earlier, when we were growing up, we would always wash our hands and feet before entering our homes. It was part of the hygiene factor,” he told BusinessLine in a telephone interview.

In Chitty Babu’s view, this feature can now be replicated in apartments of the future where there will be an exclusive space that can cater to basic aspects of cleanliness. This is precisely what Akshaya is keen on doing with its apartments.

Office-home balance

Chitty Babu said homes also need to be prepared for Covid-like situations to re-emerge in the coming years. It is quite likely that new virus strains could pose another round of threats to humanity.

Yet, he added, this could still translate into an opportunity for brands like Akshaya to look at separate quarantine rooms as part of the design initiatives for new apartments. As Chitty Babu explained, this space need not be dull but can have a character of its own for its occupants to feel cheerful and optimistic.

Work from home, which is now the mantra during Covid-19, could also end up being the norm of the future. Keeping this in mind, Akshaya plans to suitably redesign homes where an exclusive room comes with an “office-like feel”. This way, individuals and working couples can balance daily living with office-related work.

Silo spaces, please

According to Chitty Babu, other behavioural patterns could also emerge in the post-Covid era. The concept of co-living, for instance, could take a backseat with youngsters more paranoid about sharing space. Consequently, the conventional culture of hostel accommodation will stage a revival.

Owners may also be reluctant to lease out their apartments to tenants since the Covid-19 hangover and the fear of infection could be playing on their minds. As a result, tenants will now be extra keen to own a smart, affordable home.

Likewise, in the office space, the co-worker formula could give way to a more silo style. “Employees will be happy to work in a place where the employer provides them exclusive office space rather than shared (space),” he explained.

11-month work cycle

As an aside, Chitty Babu is exploring the idea of having an 11-month work cycle for Akshaya, going forward. Covid-19 has had people glued indoors for many weeks now, which has set him thinking that employees should be able to have a month to themselves and work for the balance 11 in a year.

Chitty Babu got a glimpse of this during one of his overseas travels where he found some countries on leave for practically an entire month. If the work from home mantra in India gains ground, Akshaya may just decide to put into force the new 11-month formula.

Even while the already battered real estate sector will be further weakened with Covid-19 leaving builders hard-pressed to complete existing projects, Chitty Babu insists it is critical to think out-of-the box for the future. After all, adversity can also throw up opportunities.

Published on April 15, 2020

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