For the past few months, many of us have had to live a new way of life when it comes to work. Working from home became such an immediate reality that many home owners in Berks County had no time to prepare for the experience, provided they didn't already have a dedicated work space. At first it seemed that this would be a temporary situation. But now, many companies are realizing the benefits of having employees work from home.

If it looks like working from home will be your ongoing situation, what can you do to make a dedicated work space? What if you don't have enough room in your home for one? 

What about your back yard? Yes, an office in your back yard is an option that's gaining popularity.

Benefits of a Backyard Office

You can create a backyard office in a couple of ways. You can convert a current shed that's in your back yard, or you can build one for that purpose. The benefits of both are privacy, which is essential to be productive.

Many at-home workers have found it difficult to balance work with life. Having a dedicated space away from your home to work can help with this issue. If you think about it, any professional mechanic would have a shop to work on cars. They wouldn't rebuild an engine in the living room (well, maybe some would). Working from home on a computer benefits from a dedicated space in the same way. It’s easier to not only separate work and home life with a differentiated space, but you may find it helps you focus when you’re working.

Do You Need a Building Permit?

You will need a permit in Berks County to build just about any structure on your property. Please check their website for more details. If applicable, you may also need to check with your Homeowners Association and get their approval.

Placement

When you scope out your backyard for a location for your office shed, look for somewhere flat with good drainage.

If you aren’t sure or your backyard needs clearing or cleaning up before you can place your shed, you might want to work with a landscaper who can help you with planning.

Prefab or Custom-Build?

You can find a prefabricated shed from a number of companies. You can either have the pieces delivered and build it on-site, or you can have it delivered already built. A prefabricated shed will be more expensive, but more convenient. You can find them in many different styles, with add-ons such as skylights and other upgrades. Some kits include doors, windows, insulation and flooring, and others don’t, so read the fine print.

Building Your Own Office Shed

If you already have a shed, you can save money by converting it to an office. Of course that option will be contingent on how well that shed is constructed. You may choose to tear it down and build a new one designed for your purposes and comfort. Your shed will need adequate insulation to deal with winters in Berks County, as well as being able to stay cool in summer.

Design Tips

The goal of any office is to create a space where you can be comfortable and productive. The last thing you want is distractions, which can be caused by discomfort. 

Try to include as much natural light as you can.

Add comfortable furnishings, and surround yourself with things you find visually appealing. Add a rug to warm the space up.

Consider whether or not you’ll have meetings in your office, and if so, how you can have a space where guests feel comfortable.

You’ll need to ensure you have electricity in your office, and also Wi-Fi.

Finally, create a landscaped path leading from your home to your office.

A shed-office is one of the biggest trends when it comes to working-from-home design. It can give you a space that’s separate from your home and family so you can remain productive and focused, and also maintain a work-life balance.

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