The trends prompted by the pandemic have left no industry untouched, causing disruptions and opportunities alike. Katie Apicella, founder of luxury lifestyle management company Nine Nine Bespoke, considers these macro shifts a chance to redefine luxury and service as clients navigate the new normal.
COVID is serving as a stern taskmaster to all, insisting the time has come to level-up through self-reflection and by discarding that which no longer serves us. Businesses and organizations are being asked to adjust the traditional command systems that have become obsolete amidst a world that now favors networked individuals and self-employed individuals. Those who cannot accept that this outdated approach does not fit with today’s values--equality, freedom and flexibility--will no longer be relevant.
As experts in the lifestyle and service sector, we can take the lead by setting the example that change begins within ourselves (and in our homes). Clients will continue to seek out and depend on services because lifestyle services have become a necessity rather than a privilege as work and life shift under one roof for the foreseeable future. This can take shape by evolving the traditional narrative that has accompanied the service industry from one that is reactive to proactive. Traditionally, the business model was built to react by fulfilling the client’s requests or providing suggestions based on a client’s history and preferences. However, now we are seeing the model favors a proactive approach by providing solutions that the client may not have otherwise known were available.
The need for services has gone from micro to macro:
Interior design services now include creative home office configurations
The concierge industry can become a catalyst in the way individuals take inventory of their self-worth and sovereignty as well as how companies invest in themselves by supporting their human capital (defined as the skills, knowledge and experience possessed by an individual or population, viewed in terms of their value or cost to an organization or country).
Companies have had to pivot to have all employees work remotely, something that was previously considered a status symbol reserved for white-collar executives. A recent poll showed that 60% of respondents would like to keep working remotely after restrictions are lifted. Companies such as Google once provided employee perks including concierge services to keep their employees at work. They will now have to reverse their strategy and provide the same perks to a remote workbase.
Concierge companies can provide solutions to work-life balance and workflow issues by working with human resource departments. For example, the creation of benefit packages by employers will alleviate personal tasks that burden remote workers.
Although the line was blurred, there was at least a physical differentiator between work and life. Hence the need for different concierge services: personal and corporate.
Prior to COVID, technology was paving our path towards an autonomous work culture (remember WeWork?). Despite social distancing and remote work, there must be a collective that we contribute to. The universal lesson is to work smarter, not harder. We need to reach out, collaborate and support one another more than ever.