Backyard studios: Do they work for work?

by Peter Crocker

I moved house, and therefore office, earlier this month. Inside there’s plenty of competition for bedrooms and, with three wardrobe-hogging girls circling my precious office, I could be banished to the doghouse. But should I go?

We know from the Flying Solo Understanding Micro Business, 2008 survey that 69% of Flying Solo community members work from home, but just where in the home is less clear.

On the weekend I found myself trawling displays of backyard sheds, studios, bungalows and cubby houses to see whether or not one might work for me as an office.

I have often dreamed of my very own ‘man cave’ full of tools, a bar fridge, a dodgy couch and cricket on TV (don’t all blokes?), but I’m thinking a desk, fax machine and indoor pot plant might just kill the vibe.

As I stared blankly at ‘country style’ pine cladding, treated sub-flooring options and green corrugated iron, I didn’t feel inspired as I thought I would. Surprisingly, the cost was more reasonable than I was expecting, but other questions started to cloud my mind:

  • Will I enjoy the separation from home and office? Or will it just be disjointed?
  • Would the trek out the back on a dark night or in the rain feel like newfound freedom or an annoyance?
  • What about noise, heat, cold and a lack of bathroom? Sounds a little uncomfortable.
  • And how will I be able to make my lunch while participating in an ‘important’ conference call?

Of course there are plenty of alternatives to becoming a backyard operation, such as shared office spaces, serviced offices, a room in the roof or even getting a real job with a cubicle. But after working primarily from the third bedroom for many years, I’m not sure I’m ready to move out of home.

I’d love to hear your advice and experiences about working from a crowded home, especially if you work somewhere a little unusual like a garage, a studio, in the roof, in the backyard or from the beach.

Please leave a comment and share the joy or pain.

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