For many, the COVID-19 pandemic meant swapping commutes to zoom meetings.
For some, it also meant working in a living room surrounded by piles of laundry. Roommates grind coffee or pets get in trouble.
However, one Calgarian believes they have found a creative solution for those who need more space – even temporarily – while working from home.
That is, if you have room for a seed box in your garden.
Jeremy Johnson is a Calgary builder and founder of Modern Huts. He recently started a backyard office rental agency that made fully furnished offices out of shipping containers.
“It works as an office … outside of your home for that very reason, so you don’t have kids and interruptions and everything else that daily life has in your home,” Johnson told The Calgary Eyeopener.
He says the idea is in part a response to COVID-19, knowing that some people might be looking for such a room. And in part it comes from his own experience.
“I have young children so I know exactly what it’s like to be interrupted in the middle of meetings,” he said.
“We have a lot of parents who have the same situation. This is where the idea of getting into these container offices seems to come to light.”
Long haul or not
The containers are insulated and electrically heated, which means they just need to be plugged into your home or garage, he said.
You don’t have to do anything special to your garden to prepare it for the metal can workspace – they can be propped up on temporary foundation blocks, Johnson said.
People have the option of renting or buying them for between one and three years on short notice. Rentals are only $ 500 per month.
“We can move the unit to the back yard and then once we remove it we can renovate the yard and make it back to how you had it, or obviously convert it into a long-term rental if you’d like, or into ownership,” said Johnson.
This backyard office work made from shipping containers can be rented or purchased, says Jeremy Johnson at Modern Huts. (Submitted by Jeremy Johnson)
He says they are also eligible as business expenses and can be customized to suit individual tastes.
“We can dress up the exterior to better match your home, just to soften the idea that it is a shipping container or that a lot of people like this modern look of the shipping container,” he said.
It’s not the only business of its kind that his company is working on.
They also build backyard alley houses, which Johnson says has gained interest.
“We found that people, particularly those with COVID, are now either looking for additional rental income when they turn it into an Airbnb or a rental suite, or that they are looking for that security for their elderly family members too,” he said.
At the moment, he says, most people are just thinking about the idea of the mobile office. The company has only installed one so far.
“We found that people are more interested in the lease option than buying it outright,” he said, especially since some don’t know how long they’ll be working from home.
“People are … concerned that it might only be short-term, but then other people look at the model where they may never go back to an office because their companies found ways to make it more cost effective, none To have people in the office. “
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.