Workspace Paradise

Seminole Candle Workspace

Working from home doesn’t have to entail a dining room table and pajamas

By April Blake

In the same way that there are people whose homes look like something out of a fairy tale or a movie set just because it’s so different, there are people whose home workspaces are beyond nontraditional. During a time when many people had to create home offices out of thin air in a matter of days, creativity has been a key component to a successful transition to new work-from-home offices.

For the on-a-dime workers, it’s an easier transition to turn a corner of a living room into a workspace by adding a desk, chair, and an outlet strip to accommodate a laptop, extra monitor, printer, and phone charger. Others with less space have emptied out a closet to make a mini-workspace that can be closed off at the end of the workday. Then you have people who just need to have a transition to another place, even if it’s just down the lightly worn path in the backyard—like entrepreneur Jenny Harrison of Seminole Candle Company.

Harrison has been a longtime home-worker. Before going exclusively to working on her candle business, she worked remotely for a large corporation. She craved the separation and began plotting with her husband to create a backyard workspace. “I struggled with the balance of being focused on work when I’m in the house, so I wanted a place to go. I set this up initially as an office, with the back for my hobby of candle making,” said Harrison.

And plot they did, eventually placing an old shipping crate placed in the backyard. The 8×20 foot half crate needed work, so they DIY’d a front door, two windows, a window A/C unit, insulation, drywall, floors, and electricity for the entire space for around $6000 over 16 months. She recommends using a company that will do all of the placement work. “Call around and get quotes,” said Harrison. “Find a good person to deliver who will take the time to deliver and put it on the base and help level it as needed.”

Her workspace includes nontraditional equipment, like a big slow cooker type device for melting candle ingredients, packaging and labels. But anyone can turn a shipping container into a regular office or hobby shop themselves.

Refashioning a workspace on a budget

Those newer to the work-from-home game, like blogger Jillian Owens of Refashionista.net, also need workspaces that put the fun in functional. When she isn’t leaned over the sewing machine, Owens can often be found in her new outdoor space, tapping away at the latest blog post or working on her SEO and social media presence. The two main features of her space are a refurbished outdoor table and chairs that were salvaged from the curb, and a kiddie pool. The pool, which is for after the blogging is done, doesn’t have a pump, but she does use chlorine and a pool net to keep it clean.

“Since Mr. Refashionista and I are staying home a lot more than usual, I really wanted to make our small backyard patio into something special,” said Owens. “My paradise needed to be super low-budget, since, like many others, I was laid off at the beginning of the pandemic — which doesn’t make one feel super spendy.”

Working from home gives people so much more freedom to design their space to their comfort levels, which helps with productivity. Not being huddled under a blanket in a frigid office or interrupted by a nearby colleague’s repetitive coughs is as much as part of the design as the feel of the chair or the ability to enjoy working in nature. Creativity in workspace design is key.