Guest blog written by Natalie Holden Interiors
Businesses up and down the country have been undoubtedly, and perhaps in some cases, permanently affected by COVID. Whilst the effects are still being felt with self-isolation, restrictions and test and trace, the key for most businesses at the moment is knowing how best to move forward successfully.
As an interior design business operating in the North West, we are now recognising that business owners are looking to future-proof their businesses. Have a look below at some of the trends that we’re noticing, and some of our tips for how you can follow in their footsteps.
Who we are
Our team at Natalie Holden Interiors work on a variety of different projects across Manchester, Liverpool and Cheshire for both luxury residential and commercial clients. We specialise in designing personality-driven, authentic spaces which fulfil our client’s needs. For more information on our services and to see examples from our previous projects, head over to our website.
How we were affected by COVID-19
For us, we were used to working from home before COVID hit. The main issue that we faced last year related to delays in our supply chains. Factories across the world were forced to shut for a considerable amount of time last year, which resulted in delays throughout the industry. Through the initial lockdown period, our contractors and our team were also not permitted on site.
Across the industry the knock-on effect of this global lockdown is still being felt. Although we are still experiencing some delays, we are now becoming used to this. We have found ways around the situation to make sure that the disruption is as minimal as possible for both us and our clients. One of the things that has really been brought home by the COVID situation (as well as Brexit) is the need to specify more products from UK-based manufacturers. This also fulfils our company value of being sustainably-driven throughout our projects.
Our advice for future clients
The main piece of advice that we can provide to potential clients is to plan any kind of home improvement or commercial renovation project way in advance, and make sure that there is flexibility, room for adjustment and some contingency both in budget and timeframe built into your plan. It is also vitally important that you bring the interior designer into the project as early as possible in the planning stages. This could prevent costly mistakes from being made in the early stages.
Our top interior design tips to steer your business moving forward:
- Multifunctionality and flexibility is key for us moving forward. It’s a design feature which we promote throughout our projects but one that could become essential as restrictions could continue to fluctuate.
- Looking for products and services locally can be hugely beneficial if you’re thinking of updating your business’s interior design. There has been a huge shift to supporting local businesses over the last year, and we’re committed to making the most out of the businesses around us.
- You may not think that health and safety falls under interior design. There is nothing worse than designing a beautiful space but then having to add potentially costly (and let’s face it, unattractive) health and safety features as an afterthought. Factoring a one-way system layout or socially distanced space into a design doesn’t have to look obvious and will make sure that your customers feel comfortable and safe.
- Having been confined to our homes for the majority of last year has meant that people are craving interpersonal connections and experiences. Why not update your business with brighter colours, more texture and interesting artwork to draw in new customers?
- Using comfortable materials and textiles will also add to that intimate feel. But make sure that you choose materials which are easy to clean and perhaps contain antimicrobial properties to keep you and your customers safe.
- UV light disinfectant systems are becoming increasingly popular in a number of sectors as the easiest and most effective way to disinfect surfaces.
- With air circulation key to preventing infection as we move forward, it may be useful to invest in an air purification and circulation system.
- As working from home becomes part of our normal practice, office culture has undoubtedly changed. Open plan working, automatic doors and self-cleaning surfaces could all help to ensure your colleagues’ safety, and could be easily implemented.
We’re happy to discuss how we can help you COVID-proof your business and commercial space. Get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements.
Business growth programmes with The Women’s Organisation
If you are a woman based in the Liverpool City Region and you are looking for support to grow a business of up to three and a half years old, contact us to find out how we can support you through our Enterprise Hub programme.
If you are running a business-to-business enterprise based in Greater Manchester, contact us to find out how we can support you through our Excelerate Labs programme.
We also offer paid-for consultancy services for businesses, for more information visit our Enterprise Evolution page.