It's become more common to find jobs where you can work from home. Many more employers are allowing staff to work from their home, offering permanent virtual positions, and hiring freelancers. This is great for employees and freelancers, but what happens when you need a dedicated office space to get work done and just don't have room for it in your home? Consider adding a home office in the form of a shed in your backyard! A storage shed can transform into a home office space with some upgrades and customizations!
Before starting: Check for any state, county, or township and codes to may affect you. You are responsible for making sure that your building meets these requirements. Some areas may require a permit. Other areas may require electrical inspections. Home owner associations often require your shed to match your home (siding and colors). These requirements may greatly affect the choices you make when ordering your building and transforming it into a home office.
First, decide on your own level of involvement with the process. If you have the skills, you may be able to do many customizations yourself such as finishing the walls or installing light fixtures. If you do not have the skills, you will need to have these customizations completed by the manufacturer or hire a handyman for help after your building is delivered.
Next, consider what upgrades and customizations you will need to add when ordering your new building. At Pine Creek Structures, we recommend considering the following upgrades:
- Increase the wall height. Depending on the size and style of the base shed you are customizing into a home office, you may want to increase the height of the walls. This may be required for the other upgrades you choose to add or simply for comfort.
- Upgrade the doors to a type with windows. Swapping out standard shed doors for a more traditional house door can really transform a shed into a cozy office! Doors with windows allow extra natural light inside and let you see who's outside when you hear a knock on the door. These doors often include a standard door knob and/or deadbolt for extra security.
- Add a ridge vent, gabel end vents, or eave side venting. This is an important upgrade we recommend for every office! Venting is an essential option needed for any shed with a finished interior. Without proper ventilation, a shed can 'sweat' trying to get the moisture out of the air. You'll see condensation forming and this moisture can cause problems. Venting allows your building to 'breathe' and air to circulate properly preventing any condensation from appearing.
- Insulate the floor, walls, and/or roof. Choose insulated windows and doors. You will most likely choose to add a way to heat or cool your new office so you can stay comfortable inside no matter the time of year. Insulation helps keeps your heat or air conditioning inside. Various kinds of insulation options are available for the flooring, walls, and roofing. A variety of insulated doors and windows are also available.
Next, consider what other customizations you want to add to your new home office. You'll also need to determine if you need to have the manufacturer complete these upgrades when building your shed or if you has the skills to do so yourself. You will want to consider these options:
- Separate the building into rooms. In large buildings, you may want to split up the the space into separate areas or create closets for storage. Ask about having these rooms framed out so they are ready for the interior finishing of your choosing.
- Determine your interior finishing for the walls, ceiling and floor. How do you envision your finished office space? Most manufacturers office some sort of interior finishing option. You can also do it yourself or hire a handyman to complete this task. While some owners want shiplap or stained pine board walls, others keep it simple and just paint the walls and studs inside the color of their choice. Keep in mind, the siding type you choice may change the interior look of a shed in it's unfinished state. At Pine Creek Structures, our vinyl siding has an OSB backer while our LP Smart Side includes SmartFinish on the back to give it a clean look. Traditional wood board 'n' batten siding gives the interior a beautiful rustic wood look that you may not wish to cover up. If you choose to finish the interior walls, also consider if you want to continue that finishing up onto the ceiling. Don't forget the floors, too! Some owners choose to have special flooring installed while others install it themselves. Others keep it simple and leave the standard shed floor or just purchase a rug to use in the building.
- Ask about electrical packages. Some DIY-ers are great at finishing the interior themselves, but need help with the electrical components. Most shed builders offer a variety of electrical packages including lights, light switches, and receptacles. Think about all the devices you will need to use when working and make sure to include enough outlets in the locations you will need them. Check your local state and township regulations as well. Some regulations require electrical work to be inspected prior to being covered by interior wall finishing. Also consider how you'll get internet and telephone access inside your new office... does your home's wifi reach the building? Will you need to include a hook up for internet or telephone access?
- Consider heating and cooling. Depending on the climate of your area and the amount of electronics and other items inside your new office, you may need to add a source of heat and/or air conditioning. For heat, you may choose to have baseboard heaters installed or use a portable electrical unit when needed. If you plan on using a window unit for air conditioning, you may want to install an extra window for this purpose or have a whole cut in the wall and a ledge installed specifically for your unit. Or you may chose to install a ductless mini split unit for both heating and cooling. Some owners choose to have a ceiling fan installed instead of a traditional light fixture.
Once you place your order for a storage shed, you will need to prepare the site where it will be placed. Ask your sales representative for any requirements for site prepration. Shed builders often have minimum site pep requirements in order for a warranty to be valid. At Pine Creek Structures, our sheds must be placed on a foundation of a minimum of 4 inches of 2B stone or the warranty is void. When preparing a site, it must be level. If your building is not level, it's doors and windows will not function properly.
Now that your building is delivered and in place, finish any of the customizations you chose or do yourself or through a handyman. Then the real fun begins... It's time to decorate and move in! You'll want to include a workspace, like a desk. If you have a printer, scanner, or fax machine, you may need an additional piece of furniture to house these items. Don't forget to choose a comfortable chair to work in. If you see clients in person, you may also need additional seating. Consider adding shelves, filing cabinets, or other storage for your work materials and office supplies. Remember that the purpose of this space to work! Do you need a beautiful space to feel at home and inspired? You may wish to decorate the space with artwork, plants, a rug, curtains, and other accessories. Others may choose more practical and distraction-free items like a large calendar, a white board, a corkboard, or document organizers. Some owners also include a mini-fridge for bottled water and other drinks or snacks.