Need office space at home during the pandemic? Look to your backyard
OTTAWA -- If you’re in need of a quiet place to work or study from home during the pandemic, a commute to your backyard could be a solution.
While some are fortunate enough to have a dedicated space already, working or studying at home has meant adapting any corner of your living space into an office or classroom.
Shed companies are taking notice and building office spaces, known as "studios" in backyards to accommodate those working from home.
Deborah Welch is making the most of her spare time.
"I am retired, but I’ve become a university student again," Welch tells CTV News Ottawa.
She needed a quiet place to study and hit the books, and a space where, "I don’t have to worry about clearing off the dining room table at supper time."
Converting a part of the house was too complicated and likely more expensive,
"The house isn’t that big, and we were thinking about doing a renovation; but, renovations are very disruptive," said Welch.
She looked to her backyard, and had an old garage demolished to make space for a studio.
"It’s a lovely spot to work, and it gives me some separation."
And, if you’re thinking shed — this space is insulated, has electricity, and a heat pump; it’s ready for all four seasons.
"If you have space in the garden, it’s a great solution," says Welch.
Paula McColgan is owner of Summit Sheds and Structures, the company that built Welch’s shed.
"Backyard studios, home offices are definitely popular - particularly with the pandemic."
She says they’re getting many inquiries, as people are looking to stay home even after the pandemic.
"Going forward, a lot of companies are recognizing that people can be productive from home, and they’re going to allow people to continue working from home even post-pandemic," said McColgan.
A backyard space isn’t just somewhere quiet to work and to attend Zoom meetings.
"I think importantly, what people want is - a sense of getting to leave the office in the way that they did before, when they actually physically drove into an office."
McColgan says backyard structures can also be used as offices, home gyms, and yoga studios; and, says a backyard studio is quicker and less disruptive to build than an addition or renovation.
The price, however, is dependent on many factors including the design.
"It’s like a custom house; we come in with the raw lumber, everything is cut on site; we’ll usually have the framing up in a day," says Eric Baker, who is a builder with the company.
"Everything is a one-off, so everything is very custom; Everybody wants something different, it can be a modern look or the old traditional look."
Baker says a typical build takes about seven days, and they wait for the ground to thaw before building.