More and more people are working from home now, particularly due to changes in workplaces since the global pandemic and the benefits of technology and more flexible company policies.
If you’re new to working from home, though, or know that you need to create a better space to be more productive, you may be eyeing your garage.
Using this part of your property as a workplace can give you the privacy and square footage you require to achieve more each week. Here are some steps to help you turn your garage into a practical home office in 2023.
Start by clarifying how you work and, therefore, what you’re going to need in your office space. This will vary according to your job industry and type, when you like to get tasks done if you need to conduct meetings on-site, and various other factors.
Think about how you spend your time when doing your job and develop a layout for your new office that will suit this and help you increase your productivity. For example, you might need an area for a desk and somewhere to set up tech devices like an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner, modem, paper shredder, etc.
In addition, you may want a part of your office to have good natural light so you can read or design or create, or a darker spot to watch or edit videos or photographs or do other tasks. You may want to leave space to conduct meetings with clients, colleagues, or suppliers, or a quiet, comfortable zone to read and think, among other things. Some people also want access to a toilet, sink, and kitchenette.
Of course, you need to determine how much you feel comfortable and can afford to spend on converting your garage into the home office you envisage. Set a budget early in the process so you don’t let finances get out of hand. Decide on a total amount to allocate for the conversion and then work back from there to allocate funds.
You may want to budget money for the demolition or removal of items, for new materials, labor (e.g., work done by electricians, carpenters, painters, or plumbers), the purchase of new office furniture and equipment, and so on.
Before you get too far down the road of setting up an office, check that you won’t have any regulatory issues. There may be some local government or other legalities involved, which means you need approval or permits before you can make a significant change to the use of the space.
Lodging this type of paperwork and getting it approved can take time, so it’s best to get the permissions you need before you begin garage changes.
You may also need to declutter your garage if you’ve been using it as a hold-all storage dumping ground for years. Go through everything in the garage and try to get rid of items to make room for your office needs. Put together a pile of goods to sell, donate, recycle, or bin, or even put inside your home, so you’ll have the space needed to move forward with your project.
There are many other practical jobs to take care of. For example, scrutinize the garage after you’ve cleared it out to see if any issues need addressing before you turn the area into an office. You may have mold or mildew to contend with, a pest infestation, or notice holes in walls, problems with leaking pipes or windows that don’t close properly, etc.
Also, a home office requires plenty of electrical outlets such as powerpoints, Ethernet cabling, and light switches. Many garages aren’t set up with all these factors, so you may need to get an electrician to add what you need. The same goes for heating and cooling devices. Garages aren’t usually intended to be spaces we spend hours in, so they often get hot or cold.
You may need reverse-cycle air conditioning or to choose a hugger ceiling fan or other product to help you stay comfortable. Heating may be required, too, and you may also want to install proper insulation behind the walls and in the garage roof to help the space stay more temperate.
Your garage might feel more suited to a home office if it has carpet, lovely tiles, or other flooring put in, too, and you may also want to get a professional to install a skylight or more windows so you have enough natural light to work by. In addition, it pays to add plenty of storage for all your home office gear, such as files, books, and the like, before you move into it and start working there.
Plan out the steps you want to take to convert your garage into a home office, and then start on the work as soon as possible. You should find that this new area enables you to be more productive and switch off when you’re not working.