Many of us are tired of bosses constantly hanging over our heads and putting a lot of pressure on us. It’s no wonder then that working from home is no longer uncommon. Being your own boss comes with many benefits, including a flexible schedule, not spending money on gas or public transport and the freedom to run your business how you want.
However, when you decide to start this endeavor, you need to find the right space for it. If you own a house, this is great news as then you can make the most of a room or area you have no current use for. Think about your basement or attic or even a guest room which is often empty.
While all of these options can be amazing for a one-person operation, if you plan on having more employees, you might have to think outside of the box – or outside of the house itself, so to speak. Have you ever considered having your office in the backyard? Regardless of whether you work alone or in a team, this option could be just what you need.
To show you how to create an office in your backyard, we came up with some useful tips that will allow you to be productive and inspired when working from home.
Find the right place for the office
Finding the right place will, of course, depend on the size of your yard. Make sure that your new office is not taking up most of your outdoor space, especially if you have kids and like to throw BBQ parties during summer. Come up with a plan that will allow every family member to have a use for the backyard. Furthermore, decide whether it will be adjacent to the house or a separate entity.
Figure out the size of the office
Once you are aware of the space you can work with in your backyard, you have to decide how big of an office you need. For this, you first need to know what kind of business you plan on running. Are you going to work on your own and all you need is a laptop and an internet connection? Will there be a couple of you crafting and creating stuff? Do you need a space big enough for ten people? All of this plays a role in what you should build.
Check for permits before building
If you don’t already have a structure in your yard which you can use, you will have to build something new. However, to avoid legal issues and having to tear it down, make sure to check which permits you need in order to include an addition to your property. Visit your local building department and ensure everything is done by the book.
Think of all your requirements before building
Let’s be real, unless you are a part of this industry, you will not be building your own offices. So, when discussing this project with your designer and construction expert, make sure you specify all your requirements and let them explain to you want can and what can’t be done. You do not want them to finish the office and only then realize that something important is missing. So, put everything you need on paper and go through it a few times. If you will not be working alone, let your partners and employees express their opinions and wishes for your offices. Thinking ahead will also allow you to save money as you will not have to renovate in the near future.
When talking to your contractors, make sure they know that you are looking to be eco-friendly and energy-efficient. So, ask them whether they can use any recycled and recyclable materials. This approach also includes getting proper insulation as this will allow you to work regardless of the season. Furthermore, getting double- or triple-glazed windows will prevent warm or cool air from escaping the office, which means that you will have a more pleasant atmosphere and you will save money. Depending on what kind of work you will be doing, you can even think about using solar panels to power your operations.
Consider other necessities
If you plan on employing several people, you can consider adding a toilet to the office as well. This is useful as you probably don’t want people to walk into your home every time they need to use the restroom. Plus, it’s definitely not good for your productivity. Furthermore, get an electrician to deal with your wiring and make sure there are enough outlets for everything you plan on doing. Last but not least, set up your internet connection.
Start equipping the space
Now that your office is built, you can start equipping it. What you need for your company to run smoothly will obviously depend on the type of business you are starting. To begin with, you will definitely need desks and chairs. Look into ergonomic models to make sure you and your coworkers will avoid unnecessary neck and back pain. Then, decide whether you need laptops and how many. Do you need a printer and a scanner? Look for a 2-in-1 model to save on space. Come up with a list of things you need and look for good offers.
Don’t forget about storage
Other than appliances, you will need to consider your storage needs. Will you be dealing with a lot of paper? Make sure to have enough space where it will go. What kinds of supplies will you need? Will you use drawers, cabinets or built-in storage? Maybe looking for something that can easily be moved around is a good idea, especially if it’s a small office. To avoid unnecessary clutter, make sure everyone who works there knows what goes where and puts things away after using them.
Have proper lighting
Make sure to have enough light. Natural light is always the best option, so when coming up with a plan for how your office should look, make sure to include lots of windows and skylights. However, sometimes you might have to work late hours or on cloudy days. For those occasions, look for bulbs that replicate natural light. Opt for LED light bulbs, to both save on money and keep the space from heating up during summer. Furthermore, don’t forget to install overhead lights and task lights for each employee, seeing as how layering is the best approach. Another thing you should not neglect is window treatments. Finding the right kind will allow the sun to enter your office but it will prevent glare on your screens.
Decorate as you want
While most offices are kept minimal in order to keep the workers focused, you can do what you please seeing as how you will be in charge. Start with the walls. Color psychology can play a big role in motivation, so consider looking into it before you paint your walls. Greens and blues are commonly used to invoke a sense of peace and tranquility, while people rely on yellow and orange to boost the creativity of workers. Even if you decide to keep the walls neutral with white or shades of beige, you can still bring in some pops of color with interesting furniture. Introduce rugs and curtains to make it more homey and consider putting up art.
Make it comfy
Even though this is a work space, it still has to be comfortable for the people working there. First of all, make sure you can all agree on the temperature of the office. Not being too hot or too cold is vital for your productivity, so make sure the AC is set in such a way that everyone is feeling pleasant. Furthermore, seeing as how you will probably not have a lot of space to incorporate a whole kitchen, you should at least add some crucial elements, such as office coffee machines. Coffee is known to have many benefits, so make sure to be equipped with everyone’s favorite kind. Moreover, get a mini fridge where you will keep refreshing beverages for those hot summer days.
Control the noise
When it comes to noise, it’s important to keep in mind that there are various things at play here. First, if there are several workers, you might be disturbing each other. A solution for that can be found in noise-canceling headphones. This can be especially useful if some of you work in teams and others on their own. Second, you might be affected by the outside noise. Soundproofing your offices will help you concentrate on your work, so make sure to mention this to your contractors. Last but not least, soundproofing will also make sure that your neighbors are not disturbed by your work in case your job involves some loud machines.
Bring in some greenery
Just because your office is in your backyard, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need some greenery. Your backyard might be a concrete jungle, and you and your workers need some nature to calm you down and boost your mood. So, create a feeling of being surrounded by plants; they can be something low maintenance, artificial, or even just pictures of nature.
Create a positive atmosphere
In addition to plants, other ways to boost the mood and morale in the office include scented candles and water features. For example, you can create a small fountain for the office, as the sound of running water can be quite calming and allow you to focus. Moreover, scented candles or oil diffusers can create a positive atmosphere – just make sure everyone agrees on the smell.
To get some inspiration, you can look at some interesting backyard offices online. While there are models like the Archipod and OfficePod which are made for one person, there are plenty of other options you can consider. Show your contractors some of these examples and explain that you would like something similar. As you can see, even small structures can be quite spacious, only if you know how to make the most of them.
So, if you are considering the option of running a small business from home, doing it from the comfort of your own backyard might be a good idea. Make sure to come up with a plan for the office and look into the necessary permits. After that, you get the freedom to decorate and equip it as you wish and best of all, you get the freedom to organize your own schedule. Good luck with your business!