Working from home was not only hard, but also nearly impossible for me. I had a little basement office with a small window looking up onto the sidewalk where I could see strangers walking by. It was originally used as a storage room, so you can imagine the cramped feeling I had while working down there. The small space was not really the major problem. The problem was the distraction; all the daily goings-on around the house. Things that would never pose a distraction in a real office space, like the sound of my son’s feet pattering around on the floor above me, my wife dropping in to ask what I’m up to, meandering my way toward the kitchen for a snack. As hard as I tried, it was impossible to get myself into the work mode I had when I was commuting to an office in the city. I was much more efficient when I worked outside of the home.
I thought of renting an office in the city and even looked at some that were available. There were numerous options, but any decent single office started around $500/month. If I shared a room I could get it for $300. This didn’t sound so bad in the beginning. However, when I considered the amount of time it took me to drive, I was clocking 18km, which took at least 35 minutes of city driving. Some offices offered rented parking spaces for an additional fee or I could rely on city parking, which is often astronomical. In all, with the commute, finding parking, and walking to the office, I would not only be paying for the monthly rental fee, but spending additional money for gas and parking, not to mention the 40 minutes each morning and afternoon with my trek to the rental office. I was no longer spending $500/month, I was spending over $650. Plus the 70-80 minute drive on my already long day.
My next idea was to soundproof my basement office and install better material so that it would work as a better workspace. It still didn’t separate me from what was going on in the house. The investment wouldn’t be cheap either, even if I did the work myself. I also wasn’t certain about getting the money back from such an investment if I decided to sell my house down the road. Would a soundproof room add any value to a house?
What I needed was a solution that allowed me the comfort of working from home, while still giving me the detachment and privacy I needed to be motivated and productive; a solution where my investment would not be lost when I moved.
As I was sitting in my backyard, I started looking at my storage shed. I could fit a table and chair in there and it was detached from what was going on in the house. Added to that, the commute was immensely short!
However, the downside to the shed was quite obvious to me. No insulation and no electrical wiring. I pulled out a sketchbook and started dreaming about what I would want in my storage shed to make it useful as an office. Insulation, hydro, bigger windows, heating, air conditioning, space for a desk, shelving, and good light. But as much as I wanted to, I knew I could not fit all of that into my small storage shed to make a comfortable home office.