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Starting / Working from home

Backyard studios: Do they work for work?

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 to a backyard studio?

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

On the weekend I found myself trawling displays of backyard studios, bsheds, 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 of backyard studios was more reasonable than I was expecting, but other questions started to cloud my mind:

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  • 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 backyard studios, 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 have often dreamed of my very own ‘man cave’ full of tools, a bar fridge, a dodgy couch and cricket on TV, but I’m thinking a desk, fax machine and indoor pot plant might just kill the vibe."

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 backyard studio, in the roof, in the backyard or from the beach.

Please leave a comment and share the joy or pain.

Peter Crocker

looks after content at Flying Solo. As part of Business Copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He's the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited: How to go it alone in business.

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