When developing a new business or working as a remote employee, you need a space dedicated to your professional needs. Enter the Goldilocks Rule: it can’t be too big, nor too small…it must be just right.
Well, your dream workspace just might be right in front of you.
Yes, your garage is the perfect place for your new remote office digs. It’s offset enough from the house to help you stay productive/out of earshot, and close enough to have the comfort of home a few steps away.
First, you’ll need to take a few steps to declutter, plan and make your garage office a comfy place to work.
1. Bring Order to the Chaos
Chances are your future office is currently a storage space for odds and ends you’ve collected over your lifetime. Sell the old car. Gather all tools and gardening equipment, and sort out what’s necessary or what can be tossed. (For the remaining items, consider using your basement, crawl space or a storage shed.)
Go through old boxes and decide what you need, what you can donate and what may get a second chance as a part of your new-and-improved office space. Old, sturdy utilitarian shelving may need polishing, but would also be well repurposed into spacious office shelving, in a not-entirely-uninviting steampunk style.
Next, invest in a temporary storage space, or have a massive yard sale one Saturday to turn clutter into cash. Existing clients will understand an office-in-progress, but a temporary or perpetually cluttered office may leave a negative impression on prospects. An open space will be more inviting as you plan your dream office’s look.
2. Light It Up
Not many garages are a source of natural light. Yet, you don’t want to work in a gloomy space. (After all, you left the cube farm behind for a reason.)
Ideal lighting is important for mood, but it’s also necessary for reducing instances of eyestrain–especially if you work long hours. Tabletop lamps and decorative overhead lighting offer ambiance, but exposure to natural light is important for your overall health.
To that end, replacing your garage door will offer a number of benefits and give your office a more professional design. A new garage door with windows would provide a source of natural light. It offers better insulation to reduce your monthly energy bill, and if you choose an Energy Star garage door, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $500. (Be sure to hang onto a receipt from your contractor and to submit tax form 5695. You’re welcome.)
3. Get Connected
Check out your space for Wi-Fi reception, available telephone jacks and any other equipment hookups you’ll need. This is an essential step in arranging your office.
In keeping with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for Remote Workers, first priority will be Wi-Fi, as many functions of traditional office equipment are done over an internet connection such as VoIP calls and email. Contact several telecom providers and do your homework to find the best signal and price for your internet connection, possibly bringing an expert in to have a look. Remember: Placing the router near a window may help boost the signal. And it’s way better than wearing a tinfoil hat!
4. Insulation for Your Workstation
It’s likely that your garage wasn’t originally constructed to be a living space; your heating and air systems may not connect to it. At a minimum, you’ll probably need to upgrade the insulation to avoid working in overly hot or cold conditions. But don’t worry—there are several ways to insulate your workspace without having to resort to replacing your garage.
Insulate the windows and caulk other air leaks. Space heaters and a window air conditioning unit also keep garage temperatures bearable during extreme temperatures, if you live in climates with especially ‘rigorous’ summers or winters. Adding plush rugs to a concrete floor and partitioning the room will help with insulation and comfort while boosting the space’s aesthetic and acoustic qualities. Consider consulting with an HVAC expert to bring the house’s central heat and air system to the garage.
5. Plan It Out
OK, so let’s fast forward to the exciting stage! You’ve tackled the BIG stuff. You’ve decluttered your garage and considered the lighting, hookups and insulation needs. Now you’re ready to do the fun part — planning out your dream remote office.
Your basics are a desk, chair, computer and a little storage space, but it needs an aesthetic. Instead of a concrete floor, your space will feel more comfortable with rugs or laminate flooring.
Your garage will also give you the freedom to divide the space with other stimulating functions. Near your snack bar is a game station, with card games or a pool table. A bamboo partition separates your desk from a mini yoga studio. Consider all your needs, from interior design to daily comfort. What fits best into your daily routine, or (dare I say it), your dream routine?
All it takes is a little elbow grease and planning to create the remote office of your dreams. Your garage is more than a concrete storage space — it can be a calming workspace where inspiration and productivity are the orders of the day.
Already created a kickass garage workspace? We’d love to see it! Tweet @workfrom with #dreamgarage. Share your style and any protips for others who want to maximize this flexible space.