We all need an office — a workspace where we can concentrate, think and have all the tools we need.
Let’s face it: Even if you don’t work from home, you work from home. Taking work home has become pandemic, with people routinely now working at night, on weekends and increasingly on vacation.
Some of us even work full-time from home. But when you’re “at work” in your home office, nobody else in the house will treat you like you’re at work. They will interrupt you, make noise, ask you to participate in things and generally expect things of you that they wouldn’t if you were at an office. The house itself will beckon with food, entertainment, chores and lounging.
Unless you’re really disciplined and skillful, working from home means you’re never completely at work, and you’re never completely at home. This blurring of boundaries can harm both the quality of your work and the quality of your life, if you let it. Interruptions make work less efficient, which means it takes longer to do. Loved ones are often unaware of the impact of interruptions and can even become resentful because you’re not really paying full attention.
The spaces we live and work in profoundly affect our mental state. That’s why people who don’t work at home have a big advantage: They leave the house to go to work. You don’t realize how important this simple act is psychologically until you’ve tried to work at home full-time. Leaving the house reduces the expectation of availability by your family and friends and facilitates a clear shifting of gears from personal time to work time.
Whittle your commute to 10 seconds without the hassle of building
The best of all possible worlds is to work at home and also leave the house to work. How? By putting an office in the backyard.
Like a rat-race commuter, you can get dressed, have breakfast, say goodbye to the goldfish, then march out the door ready to conquer the world. Walk across a stone path, open your office door, fire up your computer and get to work. Outside the house, you won’t be fair game to anyone inside. You’ll be able to control your environment and focus on work so you can get it done and “go home.”
You can build a backyard office, but you don’t have to. Several companies make very high-functioning, low-cost prefabricated offices that you can just buy and drop in the yard.
The Tetra Shed is a modular system for living and working that can be combined into clusters of up to six. One or two are perfect for a backyard office. When they become available later in 2012, you’ll be able to customize the exterior with different colors and materials, including rubber, steel, zinc and copper.
Pricing depends upon customization options. Other types of PODs, including a MeetingPOD, are also available.
The Sett Studio office is more like a prefab house, with a “water and ice shield roof membrane,” drywall walls and Monotred flooring. A solar-powered version is in the works.
You can add upgrades like air conditioning and heat, a built-in desk, stainless steel metal shingles and planter boxes. You can even add a deck.
The Ecospace WorkPod is a relatively low-cost and practical backyard office that can be customized when you order.
It has a swing-up window cover, which doubles as a sunshade when it’s raised. You can choose from a variety of colors and for more money add shelves, a built-in desk and other customizations to suit what you need for your new office away — but not too far away — from home.