PALM DESERT — When Tom and Casi moved into their 1,740-square-foot Palm Desert home four years ago, they identified a spot where Tom could eventually have a home office.
Each of them work from home — Casi works as a financial consultant for a high-end designer, while Tom, a former stand-up comedian and actor, writes content for programs such as awards shows or music specials for a Hollywood producer.
When it came to their new home, they worked with their builder/designer to create a space exactly how Tom wanted it — however, Casi was the first to land a job, so Tom found himself back to where he started, working from various spots in the house, such as the dining room table.
“Her jobs tend to be long-term, while mine are a month at a time,” Tom said. “The office became hers, so I patched along for a couple of years.”
When the COVID pandemic struck, they began to research home offices they could put up in the backyard. Their experience with Modern-Shed went quickly.
“We were stuck at home, and in late August, well into the COVID experience, I showed Casi what I had seen online,” Tom recalled. “To my surprise, she agreed to build one. Our first email was sent in September and we were building in November.”
Tom was attracted to the design of Modern-Shed, with the transom windows and the look of the wood coming from the eaves. Casi watched all of the videos on Modern-Shed’s gallery online to get a sense of everything someone could do with a shed.
SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA — This past spring, as the country began to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19, Kevin started thinking of the future.
“I began working from home and my kids were home from school, and I could see, looking down the road, that we might be in this for awhile,” he said. “This thing might rear its head again soon, and if that’s the case, I knew I would need a place of privacy to do my work, and the kids would as well.”
Now, with fall approaching and the “new normal” fully in swing, Kevin is happy he made the choice to build a Modern-Shed this past July. In fact, he wishes he had built one “years ago.”
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
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.
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.
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 →
Choosing a physical location at home to set up shop for your “office:”
Typical choices often are:
Dining room table
Corner of family room
Backyard tool shed
Detached home office space, such as our Modern-Sheds
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
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 →
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.
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.
Los 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.” Continue reading →