How to Work From Home #WFH – Being Disciplined 

By Tim Vack, Modern-Shed General Manager 

If you’re just joining us, check out our previous posts about being mentally prepared, physically prepared and operationally prepared for Working From Home. In this post, we’ll talk more about getting the work done amid distractions.  

The Key Word: Discipline

As I mentioned in earlier posts, staying focused on work can be challenging while working from home. The inclination to go to the fridge, do laundry or other chores are “in your face” when you are at home unless you have a completely separated space like a Modern-Shed. If you are in the dining room or down the hall, it is all too tempting to throw a load of laundry in or get a snack from the fridge. Here are some ideas to help keep those distractions under control. 

  • Avoid the kitchen and use it as you might a “break room” at your old workplace. Keep a small fridge in your workspace to keep snacks and beverages in. Not that taking a break is a bad thing– it isn’t — but not if it is a several times during the day. 
  • Schedule times during the day for a specific “break” to see your kids, talk to your partner, take a short walk or exercise. 
  • Create rules in the home regarding interruptions by loved ones. Talk with loved ones about urgent, critical, important, or can it wait until after work hours? interruptions 94787167_3263128460397862_8306762824034549760_o
  • Dress for work if it helps you stay focused and makes you feel like you are “at work”. 
  • If you feel compelled to do something that could pull you away from work, such as laundry, set a timer on your phone beforehand for 5-10 min in case you go off on a tangent. 
  • Set your alarm: Some folks can be on a flexible schedule but most need to be at work certain times of the day. Be careful not to run into the trap of “… oh, I can get to that later…” or “…I could work tonight instead of today…” I suggest keeping regular work hours and ask the boss what they require from you. If you are recently self-employed, create your work hours, track them, and stick to it. 

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#WFH – Operational Preparedness 

By Tim Vack, Modern-Shed General Manager

Now that we’ve talked about how to be mentally prepared and how to prepare your physical surroundings for working from home, earlier in our series, let’s tackle how to prepare operationally for #WFH.

Setting up your computer and peripherals:

Some of you may have never set up a computer before because you have an IT person at work. My guess is that if that is the case, your IT person will guide you to get things set up at home. Many businesses use a virtual environment or remote desktop that, once set up, your IT department can access.

As stated in an earlier blog post, your desk size and location are of utmost importance. Two of our Modern-Shed employees have monitor arms which allow their external monitors to be positioned any which way that suites them. This is very helpful for numerous reasons, not the least of which is switching it up occasionally to make things more interesting or moving your personal position in relation to sunlight as the seasons change.

 

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Plenty of desk space, plenty of natural light!

My monitors sit on my desk but swivel and go up and down. They are also curved slightly which helps the transition from one to the other and keeps the  screens a better relative distance to my eyes. Typical computer systems include a computer or laptop, keyboard, mouse, monitor(s) and printer. If you use a laptop with a built-in keyboard and trackpad, I highly suggest getting an external ergonomic keyboard and mouse … believe me, it will make your daily computer tasks much easier and help reduce chance of carpel tunnel.

The first purchase after your desk and chair is a high-quality surge suppressing outlet station with enough outlets for your computer, monitor(s), and any other expensive equipment. These units help control power to these items and reduce the chance of damage in the event of a power surge through your home.  Continue reading

How to Work from Home #WFH: Be Physically Prepared  

By Modern-Shed General Manager Tim Vack

Just started or want to start working from home? Check out the first part in our series about Working From Home or read on for tips on preparing your physical surroundings for working from home.

Choosing a physical location at home to set up shop for your “office:”

Typical choices often are:

  • Dining room table
  • Kitchen nook
  • Garage
  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Corner of family room
  • Backyard tool shed
  • Spare room
  • Detached home office space, such as our Modern-Sheds
  • Home addition

The chosen space should:

  • Allow you to focus without major distractions
  • Allow for video conferencing and private phone conversations
  • Have access to natural light
  • Have enough space for your desk/chair/cabinets or shelves as necessary
  • Be customizable to create your space
  • Allow you to “leave” work

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    Leave work whenever you want, and make it home in seconds!

Over the 30-plus years that I have worked from home on and off, I have had my office in my bedroom (twice), in a spare room (twice), in the dining room (twice), in an insulated garage, in an RV and in a basement (obviously I have lived in numerous locations during the past 30 years!). Continue reading

How to Work From Home #WFH: Be Mentally Prepared 

By Tim Vack, Modern-Shed General Manager

Now that many of you have become part of the WFH movement, I thought I could help many of you get started and adjust. I have been working from home on and off since becoming an entrepreneur in 1987, with the latest stint being the past 9 years continuously.

I’ll detail in a series of blog posts my tips on #WFH, starting today with being mentally prepared.

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Be Mentally Prepared

Now that you are either faced with working from home by no choice of your own or are desiring to do so and have never done so before, it’s worth it to examine your thoughts on the subject, both positive and negative. Positive thoughts around WFH might include:

  • No more commuting
  • No more parking hassles
  • No more daily make-up or getting ready for work
  • Saving money on child care, parking, gas, eating out

Or the thoughts might be more subjective such as:

  • I get to wear my pajamas to work
  • I don’t have to see that person at work I don’t get along with
  • I can do laundry or other household chores during the week
  • I don’t have to work in a cubicle or pre-decorated office space of someone else’s choosing

Just as there are happy thoughts, there may also be some not-so-happy thoughts, such as:

  • I won’t see my friends from work anymore
  • I won’t get to eat lunch at those great places near work
  • I enjoyed the “me time” during my commute, by reflecting or listening to music, books or the news.

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An educator’s home office

MS1Los Angeles — After years at home raising children, Susie and her husband, Josh, began to think about what it would look like for her to ramp up her career as an educational therapist. 

With a child still in elementary school, however, the couple wanted to figure out how Susie could still be around for their three daughters, but also have the time and space for work appointments that often take place after school, since Susie’s clients are also children.

That’s when Josh brought up prefabrication, a movement he’d been enamored with for two decades.

“I’ve fantasized about prefab sheds and subscribed to Dwell magazine for years,” Josh said. “The whole movement seemed cool; that kind of aesthetic and that kind of approach was appealing and exciting.”
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Shed with a View

IMG_1340BAY AREA — When Thorsten and Danielle were looking for a home two-and-a-half years ago, they saw several houses that had backyard sheds and dwelling units on a number of properties.
This was what first sparked the idea about obtaining a type of shed outdoors. When the couple found their dream home, they tucked the idea away in the back of their minds, and also thought of the perfect spot for a shed in their new yard.
“Our house had just the right spot,” Thorsten recalled. “The previous owners had a dilapidated play structure that we tore down. We had motivation to build something there, especially since I was already working one or two days a week at home and my wife, Danielle, works at home.”
Thorsten works in the technology department of a luxury automobile company, while Danielle works in the couture women’s retail industry.
IMG_1434Thorsten commutes about 50 miles to work three to four days a week, while Danielle works from home a few weeks at a time, then travels throughout the country visiting her brand’s stores a week or more at a time each month.
They both wanted dedicated home office space at home.
“When you work remotely, you like the notion of leaving your living space,” Thorsten said. “It takes 15 seconds to get to my office and then I’m not far if I need to go back to my personal space.”
Thorsten found the process to be smooth and simple with Modern-Shed’s design professionals and installation partners.
In light of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, the home office has proved even more useful.
“Right now, we’re being encouraged to work from home because of the virus situation,” Thorsten said. “I like having a work space that’s not my dining room table.”

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Need to Work From Home?

At Modern-Shed, we love to showcase how our sheds enrich the lives of our customers. Modern-Shed now has a quick turnaround on a specific home office design for customers who need to work at home quickly.

The Modern-Shed Home Office has become an even more attractive option for our customers, since working from home has multiple advantages — including avoiding sick co-workers and having a dedicated work space when you’ve been asked to work at home.

Many of our customers have expressed relief at having a home office in their backyard in light of the COVID-19 epidemic.

And whether it’s creating space for an artistic environment close to home or carving out a home office that is away from the bustle of your actual house, Modern-Sheds are here for YOU — and so are the design professionals who work to create the best shed that fits you and your life.

Below, meet three families whose problems have been solved and desires met by Modern-Shed’s tailored approach, and see how thrilled they are with them!

A Modern Aesthetic

GREATER SAN DIEGO – With young children afoot, it can be hard to get work done in the house.

J, a real estate developer from Las Vegas, spends his summers with his family at their vacation home in the greater San Diego area, but when it comes to work, he needs a quiet place away from the kids.
“Young children, they scream and yell, so there’s no possible way I can be in the house and work,” J said. “I used to rent a small office nearby, and it was pretty inefficient, having to leave the house all the time. With Modern-Shed, I can just step into my backyard and get to work.”
J had seen Modern-Shed in a Dwell advertisement years ago, but he tucked away the thought until he bought a new house in San Diego. He started the process about seven months ago to build a Modern-Shed in his backyard.
“I wanted to put an accessory structure up as an office, and when I had the need, I remembered Modern-Shed,” he said. “This was a way to take a prolonged vacation with my family without having to go to a coworking space or go to an office.”
J encountered a smooth process working with our Modern-Shed design professional, Jeff Bergerson, and moved forward with purchasing a 10′ by 12′ Modern-Shed with electricity and other bells and whistles.
He gravitated toward Modern-Shed because of the mid-century modern aesthetic that matched his new house, which itself has been featured in Dwell.
“The process was very good and it was very professional,” he said. “I would recommend it and I would buy another one. Jeff, once we connected, was super knowledgeable about the product and that was all good.”
Find a design pro near you at www.modern-shed.com.

Saving energy: A Modern-Shed testimony

A few years back, CBS Early News did a segment with Bill Nye the Science Guy about how white rooftops could combat global warming — the idea being that darker rooftops retain heat and cause people to use more of their air conditioning.

A Modern-Shed customer recently brought this to our attention, and it got us thinking about all the ways a Modern-Shed could be made to be energy-efficient.

az150925-0552Our general manager, Tim, shares his own experience about how he heats and cools his own Modern-Shed:

I have a direct south and west exposure which brings in tons of natural light. Along with the upper clearstory transom glass, I also have a 6-foot sliding glass door and an awning window.

The Ply Gem window and door have excellent energy values and my shed has walls with R-21 insulation, a roof with rigid foam R-38 and a floor system with R-21. I use a small radiant heater in the winter to keep my office toasty warm. Set on the first of three levels at 68 or 69 degrees is all it needs due to the excellent insulation.

In the summer, I have a stand-alone AC unit that vents through the awning window very easily and I have curtains to block out the late afternoon sun, but then I can’t see out. I remembered from years ago when I sold sunrooms that glass is better shaded from the exterior before the sun/heat gets to the glass. So, I put an exterior roll up shade on the large window.image006

If you can stop or filter the sun’s heat before it gets to the insulated glass, the LowE/Argon glass doesn’t have to work so hard and is much more efficient. I ordered a roll down shade screen from Amazon, and with it, I really don’t even need the air conditioning, which I prefer, and can then use the lower awning portion the window to cool in the morning and evening hours.

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Adding on vs Buying big vs Modern-Shed

Here at Modern-Shed, our design professionals often meet customers who are fed up with their living situation.
When a family needs more space, sometimes the first thing they’ll consider is adding onto their home or buying a new, bigger house with an additional bedroom.
Once they embark down those paths, however, they soon realize how costly those options are.
“Whether they’ve gone to an architect or they’ve actually hired a contractor and bid a job, or they’ve researched online, they realize it’s more complex than they thought,” said Modern-Shed design pro Jeff Bergerson. “That’s when they start to open their minds to other options.”
Building a detached studio such as a Modern-Shed for a home office or guest room living space is far less expensive than adding onto your home or buying a bigger house.
For the proof, all you need is to look at the numbers.
10x18 guestroom_2The average cost to build an additional room runs anywhere from $80 to $200 per square feet, according to Home Advisor, but higher (close to $400) in competitive markets like Seattle.
For an 80-square-foot room, that comes out to upwards of $32,000 for a home addition, with factors such as size, architectural services, support beams, electrical wiring and more influencing the cost.
More realistically, however, homeowners planning a home addition are more likely to spend more than $200,000 on their remodel in areas like Seattle, San Francisco and southern California.
“The customers I talk to who have already gone through getting quotes, these people are already tired, they’re already discouraged, and they’ve spent thousands of dollars just to get drawings and bids only to find out, ‘Hey, it’s going to cost $80,000 when here I thought it was going to be $20,000,” Jeff notes. “ And it’s going to take over a year. That’s when they say that’s not close to what they expected, so they look for new ideas.”
Additionally, building an addition might require updating the rest of your house to current standards, which can be like “opening a can of worms,” Jeff says.
“If you build a detached studio, no one’s looking at the rest of your house,” he says.
For folks not interested in turning their home into a construction zone, they might be tempted to just up and move. However, the costs to upgrade to a new home are even more alarming.
In Los Angeles, the median price of a three-bedroom home that was actively listed in February 2019 was $730,000, but the median price of a four-bedroom home was $979,000, for a difference of $249,000, according to figures obtained on the real estate listing site Redfin.
In Portland, the price difference between a three-bedroom and four-bedroom home came out to $180,000, and in Seattle, the difference was even more striking: home buyers would have to shell out an average of $748,000 more for a four-bedroom home compared to a three-bedroom home.
“The cost to upgrade the size of a house is astronomical,” Jeff says. “It’s far more than they expect, especially if they’re talking about increasing bedrooms.”
Factor in the cost and stress of moving, potentially pulling your children out of their school district, leaving a neighborhood you love, and messing with your mortgage interest rate, and many of our customers come to terms with the fact that they don’t want to move.
Modern-Sheds start at a base price of around $13,000, depending on the size of the shed, and not including, taxes, delivery and installation.
“So many people want to stay where they are and they just need to find another solution and that’s how they’re discovering us,” Jeff says. “You could have a new shed four weeks from the time of your order.”