A backyard office carry several financial and practical benefits. They’re a great way to separate part of your home and receive tax deductions for making it an office. However, sometimes a home office can be taken a step further for even more benefits.
A backyard office can serve as an enhanced home office. It offers many of the same benefits, but also brings several more. In this article, we’ll go over:
A backyard office, as a separate structure, feels very different from an office inside your house. You have more than just one room, and you have a separate structure dedicated to your work.
According to one Fidelity National Financial survey, 62% of remote workers would consider buying an office unit for their backyards. The addition of a separate office space has a few psychological benefits as well.
The remote working phenomenon kicked into overdrive during the Covid-19 pandemic. This brought many benefits, as is reflected by a Pew Research survey, which revealed that most people would choose to continue working from home after the pandemic subsides. However, working from home carries a few downsides worth considering.
The downsides of working from home include an abundance of distractions and a specific kind of fatigue. As we quickly shift to working from home, the lines between the “workplace” and “home” are blurred. This is a serious issue with only one solution: creating clear distinctions between the parts of the home for work and those for relaxation.
With a backyard office, the physical and psychological barriers between your places of work and relaxation are abundantly clear. What’s more, you don’t need to set aside and clear out an office space in your house. You’re essentially just constructing a new office building to replace your old office.
Additionally, you can make the most of the work at home movement without the movement’s greatest downsides. Are your kids fighting over the TV in the living room? Well, that won’t be much of a distraction in a backyard office.
Home offices, whether constructed from scratch or prefab, are productive spaces. All the space, furniture, stationery, and everything else is dedicated to productivity alone. There are no TVs on in the next room, no home phones ringing, no other family members interrupting your work. In your backyard office, you can make the ideal working space and leave all distractions inside your house.
Depending on the type of backyard office space you add, you can significantly increase your property’s value. This is primarily true of a comprehensive accessory dwelling unit (ADU), which would serve as your office. If you build an ADU in your backyard, you’ll have an excellent office space. Then, down the road, it could be converted for other purposes, including a rental unit or living space for other family members.
All you need to do is choose the right type of backyard office for you. You have a few options to choose from, with each having a different level of complexity and cost.
Your absolute simplest option is a prefab office shed. These come prebuilt, so they only require a few easy steps to make them office-ready.
A wide range of prefab office sheds are on the market. They can be very cheap if you want a simple, not particularly attractive office space. But some prebuilt office sheds are well-made from attractive and durable materials. These provide a sharp look and better insulation.
Prebuilt office sheds also vary in terms of features. For example, many styles include an exterior primarily made of glass. If you value a lot of sunlight, you can get what amounts to a glass box with a basic frame. But if you desire some privacy to go with the sunlight, then there are plenty of options that offer both.
It’s worth keeping in mind that prebuilt sheds vary significantly in size too. Certainly, minimal options are available that are just small sheds. But some makes are more extensive even than a conventional inside-the-house office. And if you have a sizable budget and want an office worthy of a CEO, but in your backyard, you can find luxury office sheds as well.
Premade backyard office sheds are the more diverse option if you want a backyard office. They’re new structures that come in many forms, offering you a fresh slate for your work from home environment. This makes them your simplest and most diverse option.
If you already have a shed, you can save money by converting it into a backyard office. However, the quality of your future office will depend on your budget.
In general, converting a shed into an office is an expensive undertaking. However, it’s usually cheaper than a prebuilt office shed. Prebuilt office sheds start around $5,000 for a shell, but thorough installations cost up to around $40,000. Converting a shed can often cost as little as $2,000, or less if you have all the materials and furnishings you need already. However, a thorough conversion, even excluding furniture, can cost more than $15,000.
With an existing shed conversion, you certainly have the opportunity to be resourceful and save. However, you sacrifice the freedom to gain a new office of your liking. While a lot of work can be done to change a shed into a great office space, you’re forced to work within the structural constraints of your existing shed. This makes them a more restrictive option.
Overall, existing shed conversions into office sheds are your most accessible choice. After all, why not convert something you already have the ability and materials to create? True, they are a less versatile choice than buying a new prefab.. But if you really like your existing shed and think it would make a great office, then conversion is the obvious choice for you.
An ADU is a secondary dwelling unit on a property with an existing dwelling unit. Unlike a prefab office shed, an ADU is a separate category, with its own legal definition of what it is. However, the specific characteristics of what constitutes an ADU vary widely by state.
In California, the maximum ADU size is 800 square feet. However, localities, even within California, often allow for larger ADUs.
For the purposes of building a secondary structure for an office space, ADUs are the go big or go home option. They’re a larger-scale option that goes beyond the simple utility offered by a prefab backyard office shed. There are two main reasons why you’d consider an ADU above a prefab shed for your office space.
A structure that meets ADU specifications can be rented out for as long as the owner sees fit, to whomever they choose. ADUs open up the opportunity for rental income should you choose to begin using your backyard office as an ADU.
Smaller ADUs that would be good for an office can also serve other purposes. For example, they can be converted into guesthouses or in-law suites. They’re therefore a great option if you later want to use them to house or host friends and relatives.
A backyard office usually doesn’t need to meet ADU standards. However, if you want a secondary structure that serves as a high-quality office with the ability to be converted for other uses, building an ADU in your backyard is a great choice.
Because of recent trends, some new companies offering prefab office pods have popped up. These companies are dedicated to this single product and offer an all-in-one solution, including delivery and installation.
You can buy these outdoor offices from the local companies that offer them. Choosing from your local companies is the recommended option because different jurisdictions have their own regulations. For example, Buhaus, which sells in California, meets the specific California wildfire resiliency codes. In all cases, meeting local codes is a crucial consideration.
Here are some other reputable companies offering backyard offices:
As with any kind of purchase, you can compare several options. A good place to begin your research is through online reviews on trusted neutral platforms like TrustPilot. The four examples above are all rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau, which is a good place to see any previous complaints from customers and how the company handled them.
The good news is that you can find reputable businesses that can meet your needs regardless of your budget.
Making a backyard office is easy. The industry has become more competitive as demand for home office spaces has increased. You have backyard offices of many shapes and sizes to choose from. The industry accommodates a wide range of property sizes and budgets.
Backyard offices, when you follow the right approach, become more financially efficient with good construction materials and insulation. You can also look into how the home office deduction can be applied appropriately to take advantage of the tax savings opportunity.
In the end, you can probably find many reasons for setting yourself up in your own backyard office. Whether you take the step or not, it’s definitely an option worth looking into.