A popular trend in work-from-home culture is the tiny house office, but there are pros and cons to this relatively new business revolution.
According to a 2010 report by the United States Census Bureau, 13.2 million people work from home at least one day per week. In the six years since then, that number has risen to a staggering 53 million, says one study by the New Jersey Institute of Technology. With a six-year increase like that, it seems only likely that the number will continue to rise in the wake of ongoing advances in both technology and home office setup. One advance that's still on the rise is the advent of the tiny house office.
A tiny house office is a small building, usually no more than 100 or 200 square feet, that people put on their properties separate from their primary homes to use as work space. These houses come in many different shapes and sizes as well as different styles. Some of them actually come on wheels. The one thing they have in common? They all allow an alternative workspace while maintaining the privacy of a primary residence.
While a tiny house office may sound like a fantastic idea, there are, as with most things, pros and cons.
The pros of a tiny house office
The advantages of a tiny house office are relatively straightforward. To start with, it's a space outside of your actual home that allows you to focus on client work without compromising the privacy of your living space. Since it's a separate building, it helps you to switch gears between personal life and business life even though you never have to leave your property.
A tiny house office is also an inexpensive alternative to a traditional office space. You only pay for it once, when you build it or place it. No rent, no additional utility bill (as long as you connect it to the same power that your home runs on), and no mortgage because they're relatively low-cost. They also tend to be more energy efficient since they lack traditional plumbing systems and you can easily modify them to run on solar power.
You can place a tiny office anywhere on your property, which means you get to pick the most convenient and aesthetically pleasing location for your office. If your tiny house office is on wheels, you can easily move it to a different location if you move primary residences, if you have a problem, or if you just want to see it on another part of your property.
To protect your investment, you can insure a tiny house office. You may have to take out a separate policy for this, which might be either a homeowners policy or a business policy, depending on your needs and the agency you use for insurance. We recommend you investigate all of your insurance options before settling on a policy.
The cons of a tiny house office
All of that sounds pretty great, right? But there are other things to consider with a tiny house office. For starters, if your business ever expands, it's unlikely you'll be able to accommodate that growth in such a compact space. If you plan to work by yourself for the foreseeable future, a tiny house office may be suitable, but if you're running a startup that you expect to blossom into something more, you might want to consider alternative work-from-home accommodations.
Along those same lines, a tiny house office can be a tough place to house additional employees, even if there are only two or three of you. Space shrinks dramatically with each added body. If your coworkers are people with whom you get along fantastically well, that's one thing, but in most cases, you'll likely find you're stepping on each other's toes far too often.
Despite the space being separate from your home, you may still have to use the principal residence from time to time for the kitchen or bathroom. While tiny houses have such facilities, they don't always have a connection to a standard water supply. Instead, they function more like RV water supplies, which can be cumbersome if you're trying to focus on work.
Is a tiny house office right for me?
A tiny house office can work well for some professions. Real estate professionals, artists, and independent contractors can all benefit from this type of private workspace. If you're starting a digital business of some kind, a tiny house office might be ideal for you, though don't forget to think about future growth and how that will fit into your office plan.
Businesses with more than two or three people, firms that intend to expand within a short period, and companies that require intensive manual labor or large swaths of space are probably not suited to a tiny home office. Renting an alternative space may be the best option for those businesses.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of tiny home offices, one thing is for sure: this is a movement that's here to stay.
Will a business policy cover your tiny home office? Contact a Pekin Insurance agent and we'll tell you all you need to know about policies for your small business.
Do you use a tiny house office to run your business? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.