In 2020, many working homeowners and employers faced a common challenge: adapting to the work-from-home (WFH) environment. Although it was challenging at first, some workers and employers alike found comfort in reviewing spreadsheets, drafting documents, and reaching out to clients from their living room couch.
The WFH shift made homeowners realize that it just doesn’t make sense to commute 40+ minutes each way to do the same work they had been doing in their own space. With some employers agreeing, they needed a solution.
So that’s where a backyard home office comes into play.
In this article, we’ll run through the benefits and costs of simply installing a backyard home office and, of course, if that investment adds value to your property.
Why a Prefab Backyard Office Makes Sense
The backyard office is simply a smart move for WFH professionals. When the line between your workspace and living space becomes blurred, problems can arise — poor work-life balance, unwanted stress, and working outside of your normal schedule.
Now put yourself 10-30 feet away from your patio or backdoor. Bliss.
The backyard home office offers the comforts of your home with the benefits of an office environment. Noisy guests or distracting media? No space inside your house? Grab your mug, laptop, and blanket before heading to work in your backyard.
Now let’s look into the benefits of buying a prefab backyard office instead of building one.
The Question: Build or Buy
While some may think the build-or-buy argument is similar to building or buying a full-size house, they’re wrong. Backyard home offices take up less space, require fewer materials, and are used less than the main house, so what are the merits of building one yourself?
The cost to build a backyard office can be steep. Materials, labor, and safety measures will all come at a high cost — unless, perhaps, you’re a carpenter or homebuilder yourself. Plus, it takes longer to build; waiting lists for contractors are currently 12+ months.
The major benefits of constructing your own include increased customization options and decreased costs if you can provide the labor. So what about buying a prefab office?
The cost of buying varies between manufacturers. For example, the Modal Pod is an affordable backyard office solution starting at $59,000. But guess what? That’s the whole package — site prep, craning, electrical and internet hookup, heating, and much more. There are no hidden costs or fees unlike the unexpected headaches associated with stick-built construction.
Although the cost may be similar to building on your own, you get to skip the long construction times and headaches in exchange for quality and peace of mind. Plus, manufacturers deliver the final product to the site for installation. That’s the beauty of prefabrication, i.e., constructing a structure completely off-site. Here’s a brief resource on the benefits of modular over stick-built construction.
The Value Added
Before you purchase a prefab backyard office, you might ask if it adds value to your property? Thankfully, we can tell you why the answer is yes.
First off, you’ll likely see no major impact on your property taxes. When it comes to property tax, you have to consider current tax rates and property values for where you live. However, small home additions won’t drastically impact your property tax because they don’t inflate your property value. Be sure to check your local tax laws to be safe!
Second, your prefab backyard office will increase the value of your home. If properly installed (and with the right features), you can rent or sell your home at a higher price. Young and established professionals alike can see the benefits of a backyard home office for both their health and productivity.
Lastly, there’s value to you. Separating your work from home can benefit your mental health and work-life balance. Research from the American Psychological Association found the top two stressors for Americans were work and finance.
Now, more than ever, workers value their work-life balance. Being removed from noisy, potentially toxic work environments enables people to focus where it truly matters. They improve their job performance, hang out with friends or family, and meet long-term goals without getting caught up in workplace stress. It’s more than wanting extra free time or a cozy nook — it’s about making the most of your life.
Oh, and with a small addition to your backyard, you’d get a permanent, private office. That’s a pretty amazing perk for any professional, regardless of the industry.
No more documents left on the kitchen table to catch your eye before eating — now it’s all kept safe and secure in your backyard office escape.