Because of the pandemic, working from home has become the new normal. Offices around the world, even the ones where the biggest companies operate, are shut down to protect their employees from the threat of the virus.
However, at home, there are distractions. Kids running around, your partner cooking, the doorbell ringing, the dogs barking, the neighbors bickering — these all create an environment not suited for productivity. While the bedroom may be quiet, the bed can be very inviting.
So, where should you work?
Many households are transforming their garage into an office. It is not a new concept. Google, Apple, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard all started in a garage in their homes before they expanded and became the tech giants we know today.
However, setting up a comfortable home office in a garage is not easy. The space is not exactly designed to be cozy.
Clean It Up
The first task on the agenda: clean up. The garage usually doubles as a storage space for things that people do not need but still want to keep around in case they want to use it in the future. It, therefore, can be quite messy. Mess, as you may know, can cause distractions.
So, pack it all up. Get IBC bunded pallets for hazardous liquids that you may have and clear plastic boxes for everything else. Choose one side of the garage as the storage unit if there are no other places in the house where you can keep this stuff.
Then, clean as normal. Vacuum the floor and give the walls a wipe to remove dust, cobwebs, etc.
Keep the Climate in Mind
Likely, you would be using your home office for a long time. Keep in mind that seasons change. Eventually, the cold or the heat can make the space unbearable.
You probably would have to spend more in order to make the garage a living area if you live in a state that gets really cold in the winter and hot during the summer. The garage door, and other nook and cranny, will have to be sealed. This way, your energy use would not be too expensive. Your HVAC would not work hard to keep you comfortable even when the temperature is rising or falling outdoors.
Put Your Desk Near the Window
The ideal space for work is anywhere that is near a window. Natural lighting is less harsh on the eyes. It will prevent eye strain and migraines which people typically experience when they spend hours under artificial lighting.
However, for those who need to work until sundown, proper lighting is still necessary. Consider adding more light fixtures into the garage, especially if the space is large and the ceiling is high. A single bulb may not be adequate. A desk lamp or a hanging lamp can provide additional illumination for late-night shifts.
The garage is not the coziest space in a house, but you can make it more “homey.” Adding a comfortable office chair, a soft rug, a pretty curtain for days when it is too hot, and other decor can be added to make the garage look less utilitarian.
Make Space for Zoom Calls
Working from home, you often will have to make and take video calls. Although Zoom allows you to upload a virtual background to hide your surroundings, a blank wall will look more professional when you are talking to your boss or a client.
Spare a specific space for video calls. It should receive adequate lighting and will be quiet during the virtual meeting. You can opt for a blank wall or choose a piece of art hanging behind you. Moreover, you should have a table to place your laptop and a chair.
A home office is a necessity nowadays. The garage may not be the perfect place to work for now, but it can be transformed and improved to boost productivity.