If you’re like many, you were already thinking about working from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. And even if you were not, the pandemic has certainly made working from home an increasingly attractive option, for those whose line of work allows it. Many who started working from home because of the pandemic will continue doing so after it is over.
With a bit of adjustment and the right tools, almost any work that can be done in an office can be done in a home office. Meeting? Now, these are done on video conferencing platforms like Zoom. Collaborative project? Platforms like Slack and online repositories like Google Docs allow team members to share work remotely. For hourly wage workers, there are apps that track time clocked in and out.
One problem that remains, however, is a suitable workspace. Unlike office complexes, most homes are not really designed to facilitate office work. With school out due to the pandemic — or for the summer season, even without the pandemic — distractions abound for those who have families. Perhaps the kitchen or dining room table is not the ideal place to set up — and take down whenever it is needed for meals. Perhaps there is no suitable space for a proper desk. And not everyone has a spare bedroom that can be converted into a home office.
Building an addition onto the house for a home office can be pricey and time-consuming, factoring in the permitting process and working with contractors. By this point, you might think that you are just going to have to spend your workday at a coffeehouse — which has its own distractions. But there is another way.
In the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis, the “tiny homes” movement gained momentum. People were looking for more affordable alternatives than signing on to a thirty-year mortgage. While the tiny home lifestyle is not for everyone — it probably would not work for a growing family, for instance — the tiny home movement has produced beneficial side effects in that it has created an industry. Manufacturers of garden sheds, for instance, made some adjustments to their product lines to enable them to produce structures suitable for other uses. It is now possible to go online and find a wide range of “tiny home” type structures which can be ordered as kits. By setting up such a structure detached from the main house, you can now have a home office away from distractions, with room for your desk and office tools.
BZB Cabins and Outdoors makes a number of tiny structures suitable for home office use. One such product is their Zion 1, a “panel cabin,” that is, with prefabricated walls. These assemble into a one-room, 111 square foot space, which can easily be insulated and wired for electricity. This panel cabin can be customized with more or fewer windows, different placement of the door, or additional doors. Its current price is $5,800.
Somewhat larger at 209 square feet is their Lakeview, at $8,690. Made of Nordic Spruce in a log cabin style, it is designed as a DIY solid wood prefab kit that can be assembled in three days or less. It can accommodate any setting — office, guest house, artist studio, etc.
In a similar price and size range is BZB’s Sunset Cabin, at $8,650 and 162 square feet. Entails a classic design with double glass windows and doors, and fully lined insulted internal space. It can theoretically be used as an office, pool house, gym, or studio. However, BZB will build it for you.
Another elegant, priceless cabin with double-pane glass windows, is the Pinecrest, $5,750, 123 square feet. This prefab cabin was built with versatility in mind — perfect as a guesthouse or large office space.
Finally, BZB’s smallest, least expensive model should be mentioned: the Escape. A timber-built option at just 113 square feet and $4,790, this one was built with home offices in mind. Its elegant wood exterior makes it a beautiful addition to your yard.
In a world where more and more things can be done online, the purchase of a work from home space online is now possible. Purchasing a kit for a predesigned stand-alone office is so much simpler than designing and building from scratch, and the cost is within reach of many who could not afford a remodel or addition.
Whatever your home office needs, there is bound to be a suitable product online.