Many workers struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance and working from home can further blur the line between the two. Having a separate office space can help. If you don’t have a room to spare, don’t worry—the best solution for your home office may be just outside your house. Consider building a backyard office, the ideal combination of privacy and proximity. To maximize efficiency consider a few crucial factors.
Determining how much room you need is the first step. If you already have the office furniture, this should be fairly easy with just a measuring tape, a pencil and some graph paper. Measure each piece of furniture and draw an initial layout on the graph paper. Start with the desk and chair then add other items around them. Consider your typical workflow and allow plenty of room to move; leave approximately three feet around the desk and a minimum of two feet in front of open file cabinet drawers and bookshelves. Play with the design a bit until you have a configuration that will be functional and comfortable. Resist the urge to cram yourself and your necessities into as small a space as possible; remember you will be in your office at least eight hours a day and you deserve a space you love.
Once you have decided on a backyard office you won’t want to waste a moment making it a reality so build a structure that will be quick and easy to assemble. Be sure you choose materials that will stand the test of time. Take a cue from engineers and build a structure strong enough to withstand the worst storm in your area from the past 100 years. A Quonset hut from SteelMaster USA is an excellent choice. They are affordable, sturdy, endlessly customizable and come backed by a 30-year guarantee.
You may need an office now, but five or 10 years down the road you may prefer something else such as an artist’s studio, a workout space or a traditional storage shed. Make sure that whatever you build now will serve your changing needs for years to come. One way to do this is to install durable hard surface floors such as sealed concrete. You can warm up the space and soften the look with area rugs for now, but not need to worry about rolling yard equipment on it in the future. Another way to preserve the versatility of your outdoor building is to bring in free-standing desk and shelves rather than installing built-ins.
Bright, cheery surroundings encourage creativity and productivity. Conversely, inadequate lighting can lead to headaches, increased stress and overall fatigue. Obviously, it is important to ensure your office is well-lit. Natural light is best, so install windows and skylights in your backyard office if possible. If privacy concerns dictate the use of window coverings, explore options such as sheer shades, vertical blinds or good old-fashioned gauze curtains. Be sure to install sufficient task lighting at each workstation, using full-spectrum bulbs that mimic natural light.