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.
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.
BAY 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.
Thorsten 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.”
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.”
PORTLAND — Within the first year that Steve started his consulting business, he knew he needed to find a space to work outside of his house.
Steve and his wife, Michelle, and two daughters live in a three-bedroom Portland home built in 1912.
Steve works in accessory and product design, with his hands on everything from watches and eyewear to other wearable technologies for brands like Nike and Timex, while Michelle designs and creates handbags and clothing.
“I was working in our finished basement, which is a nice basement, but there was a lack of light and still, it’s in the basement and it’s in the house,” Steve recalls. “I started looking at renting spaces or doing a prefab build. My goal was to get a modular system I could build myself.”Continue reading →
San Juan Island — In an ideal world, Tom wouldn’t have purchased a Modern-Shed.
The Portland-based attorney loves to build things and enjoys having his hands on a project, so when he began considering building a home office on his family’s property on San Juan Island in Washington, he would have ideally liked to build the office himself.
But, we don’t live in an ideal world, and Modern-Shed helps our customers wisely and efficiently use their time so they can have the types of spaces they’ve always dreamed of.
“I really like building things, but I don’t have the time,” Tom admits. “I wanted a quality product that could assemble very quickly. That was the key criteria.”
At least one in five people work from home, and the number will only increase in the next few years. And who can blame them? More jobs than ever allow employees to work from home, especially if your job involves heavy online work. Working from home can be rewarding; I work from home, and I find I get more work done than I did in traditional work environments. Plus, I save money on gas and other work-related expenses.