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Many inside the door of a backyard shed using it as an office
Peter Cade, Stone, Getty Images

Are She-Sheds Becoming the New Home Office?

A pandemic-led demand for home office space inspired some homeowners to convert their upscale sheds into offices, with “daily commute” now a walk across the yard.

NEW YORK – As remote working grows more common, homeowners are trying to carve out more space, indoors and out, for a dedicated home office. And, in some cases, homeowners are taking their office outside. According to a report from The New York Times, the backyard home office is a growing trend.

Some homeowners took inspiration from the “man cave” and “she shed” trend and built shed-style home offices. The company Studio Shed, for example, sells prefabricated panels that can be shipped, built and assembled in a backyard to create a 100-square-foot home office.

James Wilson of Oakland, Calif., works in finance and his wife Meg Wilson, as a nurse practitioner who treats patients online via telehealth, and they built a shed to use as a private backyard office. It took a little over four weeks from the time they ordered their office-shed until completion, and it cost about $31,000.

Several companies are touting backyard solutions, like Kanga Room Systems (units start around $5,000 for an 80-square-foot kit the buyer assembles) and Modern Shed.

Studio Shed officials say they’ve doubled sales over the last year. In April alone, their sales were four times higher year-to-year. The company’s units start at $10,000.

The Modern Shed says they’ve noticed orders drastically increasing as well. “We’ve always offered this very simple solution because you don’t need to tear up an existing house, and you can just add it to your backyard,” says Ryan Grey Smith, founder of Modern Shed. “It’s this little structure where you can feel like you’re working miles away, even though you’re only 30 feet away.”

While a backyard office-shed isn’t an option for many people, space-constrained homeowners are actively looking for workspace solutions. For some, it’s even been a motivation to move. A recent survey of real estate agents conducted by HomeLight suggests that a designated home office will likely be the most desirable or important feature for homebuyers in a post-pandemic era.

Source: “Your New Home Office May Be in the Backyard,” The New York Times (July 14, 2020)

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