Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a meager commission, which helps support the site. We thank you in advance.
The number of worker-bees whose employment involves telecommuting (otherwise known as working from home or home-officing) is rising. This is due to many factors including the economy and the locally-mandated and/or self-imposed quarantining because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so the need for home offices is rising. If all of your bedrooms are occupied, a garage office is a great option.
The numbers are impressive; according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics1, "In 2019, 24 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at home on days they worked, and 82 percent of employed persons did some or all of their work at their workplace, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today." Yes, these figures are old, but that's how the government rolls, folks.
They go on to say that about half of all businesses are home-based business. This makes sense because freelancing is becoming more attractive as employer fringe benefits such as health care benefits and pensions keep dropping like flies.
As high-speed internet access in all locations becomes more available, a increasing number of people are earning extra income or even shifting to full-time freelance work doing things like writing articles for sites like this one. As work-at-home types quickly find out, a computer on the dining table with kids scampering about just doesnt work.
Why a Garage Home Office?
In many cases, all the homes bedrooms are already occupied and/or being used for hobbies or arts and crafts or as a wood shop or a man cave. The garage, especially a 2-car garage, has the potential for configurable space and already offers some degree of solitude.
A Remodeling Plan and Construction Budget
Its easy to get carried away with this type of project. Research and planning are key to a successful outcome. It helps to make a list of all items with the must-haves at the top and the wish list at the bottom.
Then, figure out a realistic construction budget, get prices, and red-line the items that just dont fit in the budget. These arent things that can't ever go in; they just have to go in cold storage for a while.
Dont go down the small business loan road unless absolutely necessary. Theres no sense beginning with a large debt load. There are always "wants" vs. "needs."
If the walls already have drywall installed on the exterior wood framing, all that's needed is minor repair, texture, and paint. If not, add hanging Sheetrock and taping and floating to the list.
Flooring. For telecommuters or small business entrepreneurs with deep pockets, ceramic tile, carpet, or laminate flooring are great flooring choices. For those on a tighter budget, a Walmart throw rug will do initially; move the good floor to the wish list.
Lighting. Light fixtures are essential in any work area. 2 X 4 4-tube fluorescent fixtures are affordable and standard in any office space. To maximize efficiency, focus on what's best for office lighting.
Heating and cooling. This is dependent on location. For cooling and heating, flex ducts can be routed from the home HVAC system if the capacity allows it, or window unit air conditioners and space heaters can be installed. A much better choice for cooling is a ductless mini-split air conditioner.
Office furniture. A desk and a comfortable chair is required. Shelving, credenza, etc. may be added if needed.
High speed Internet access. High speed Internet access. This one is a must-have in any office today. The good news is that if the home already has it, the cable can be re-routed or a wireless connection can be configured.
Paying for it All
There is a certain degree of flexibility in financing the fitting out of your garage home office. The more that you, as the homeowner can do, the more money you can save on labor costs. Almost anyone can paint, for example. Entrepreneurs can benefit from bartering with contractors in many cases.
Telecommuting employees may be able to recoup some capital from the employer. One final thing to remember is to review and update your homeowners insurance policy.
Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this site and our blog to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.
About the author:
Kelly R. Smith was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.