In the digital age, people everywhere are taking advantage of remote-work opportunities more frequently than ever. But if you ask anyone who’s tried working from their busy home what that’s like, the answer will probably be something along the lines of… distracting. That’s because most people have their homes set up to support their family life, not their professional one.
That reality has taken on new importance now that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced the majority of the world’s workforce to stay at home. All of a sudden, workers who had never considered working from home – and never made any preparations to do so – are finding out how challenging it can be to get anything done with no home office space to work in. It’s been an eye-opening experience for many.
For that reason, there’s a sudden and vital need for workers everywhere to figure out a way to set up a home office that they can use for the duration of the crisis. As some homes have little space to spare, however, that’s not always an easy thing to come by. One great answer to the problem is to convert your backyard shed into a fully-functional home office. It’s easier than you might think to do it, and the results are fantastic. Here’s how to do it.
Retrofit the Walls, Floor, and Ceiling
The first step in converting a shed into a home office is to make the inside a complete, finished space. The first step to doing that is retrofitting the walls, floor, and ceiling. Begin by creating a floorplan for the space so you can figure out where you’ll want to add an access door and as many windows as you desire. Then you should purchase insulation to make the shed comfortable to work in. Then choose and add windows to your shed suit your floor plan. Finish the initial work by purchasing and Upgrade or replace your shed door that will be capable of protecting your office equipment once it’s fully furnished.
Install Electricity and Lighting
To work as a home office, your shed is also going to need electricity. This is a step best accomplished by a licensed electrician. You can arrange to have them run power from your home’s existing grid connection or opt for an off-grid solar installation. If you’re confident in your DIY skills, you may even be able to handle the installation of an off-grid solar kit by yourself, which can save substantial sums on your total project cost.
Either way, you’ll need to calculate your power needs based on the office equipment and lighting you plan to use. Plug in the correct values into a solar power calculator to figure out what you’ll need to purchase. After you’ve done that, the next step is to install adequate overhead lighting. It’s a good idea to do this even if you plan to use desk lamps and floor-standing lamps since those are rarely enough to illuminate an office space.
Install Drywall, Flooring, and Trim
At this stage, your shed will be ready for you to work in, but it won’t look the part. To finish the job, you’re going to have to purchase and install drywall, flooring, and trim. Depending on your shed’s construction, you might have to construct 22mm gyprock battens to hold the drywall. This also provides ample space for the electrical wiring you’ve had roughed-in during the previous step. The good news is that since you’ve already dealt with insulating the structure, the toughest part of the work is already done.
The process to hang drywall is a straightforward one, and there are plenty of great guides available online. Once that’s finished, the installation of trim and a quick paint job should be enough to give the walls and ceiling a nice, finished look. After that, you’ll also want to figure out what kind of finished floor surface you’d like. In many cases, laying laminate flooring is the easiest option, but if you value comfort above utility, don’t be afraid to go all-in and install wall-to-wall carpet.
Bring in Office Equipment
If you already had a home office workspace of some kind, you should already have many of the items you’ll need to fill up your new home office. At a minimum, you’ll want a big enough desk to accommodate whatever work you plan to do, a comfortable office chair, and plenty of additional seating to handle any guests you anticipate.
Since it’s an office, you may also wish to consider adding air conditioning. In most cases, a split-unit system works well in a shed, because there are no interior walls or obstructions to the airflow. If that’s a bit more pricey than you’d like, a portable air conditioning unit can also work, but they tend to be less efficient than other options. In both cases, though, you should take care to make sure that the system you choose can keep your new office below 23 degrees even in the middle of summer – your computer will thank you for it.
Get to Work
And that’s it! You now have a quiet, private, comfortable home office to work in. It should have everything you need to do your job and provide a distraction-free refuge from your busy life. The only problem is, you may not want to go back home when your workday is through! If you do, that, though, don’t blame us. We’re just responsible for how much you love your new office, not what you do with it.