These satellite offices come shipped to your home.
As people work from home due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, prefabricated home companies and office phone booth manufacturers are pivoting their business models to deliver mini home offices to remote employees.
Dwellito, an Arizona-based company, is now selling shed-sized offices built between 64 square feet and 112 square feet. Each can be customized with a desk, power cord or solar power that appeals to homeowners looking to invest in a private remote workspace.
“Our main product is really prefabricated homes,” Caleb Barclay, a product designer for Dwellito told FOX Business. “The inspiration for the mini office came with a lot of customer requests mainly from people who wanted to escape their house to create an office.”
The sound-resistant spaces cost between $8,324 for a 64-square-foot office that can fit a desk, to $17,650 for a 112-square-foot satellite office that can fit two desks and small living space.
More Americans are investing in their work-from-home spaces to create a physical separation of work and life balance at a time where lines can become more blurred with stay-at-home orders in place. Purchases for home improvement items increased 71 percent since last month, according to data from market research firm Rakuten Intelligence. And some companies like Facebook, music streaming giant Spotify and e-commerce software company Shopify are offering employees a stipend to buy equipment such as office chairs, a new desk, monitors and video chat devices upon request. As a result, home office companies are now offering temporary solutions to help cater to the new home office layout.
Room, a startup that makes soundproof, seven-foot, phone booths for open office floor plans, is now letting individuals order them for their personal living quarters or bedrooms instead. The 100-pound booths cost $3,895 and are made to fit a small desk and chair and can be delivered straight to a person’s home for spaces that are at least 15 feet by 15 feet.
The company is also partnering with corporate clients who can request Room’s booth be sent to their employees’ home addresses, and the company will disassemble it and move it back to their office once it reopens. The idea is to give people a quiet, confined space to work or take a conference call away from their personal lives.
“Because this particular period of time, kids are home, there is literally no separation from work and life, having that carved out space is definitely relevant,” Brian Chen, CEO and co-founder of Room, said.
Chen says individuals have been requesting the soundproof booths for garages at home, in their bedrooms and in more remote areas, like barns.
“People live in such a wide variety of spaces, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all,” Chen said.
With showrooms closed, Ethan Allen CEO Farooq Kathwari said interior design associates have been working remotely and relying on virtual sales tools such as its inHome augmented reality app, 3-D room planning tools, Skype and FaceTime to help shoppers see how pieces of furniture will look in their space before they buy it.
Interior designers have also been getting a number of requests from individuals about ways to accommodate a small office in small spaces, particularly from those living in apartments.
“You’re taking things like closets and seeing how you can retrofit them with power, storage and space for laptops,” Charlotte Gachot, of New York City-based interior designer Gachot Studios, who has styled commercial properties like the Shinola Hotel in Detroit.
“People are finding space that either already exists in their home. If you’re in a rural area, people are saying, ‘What can I do to get above my garage and make that a space?’ or ‘What can I do to get a guest bedroom and turn that into a home office?'” Gachot said.