Expanding to a Shipping Container Home Office
Before 2020, many of us looked at home office days as one-off perks of a heavy snowfall or office-wide Wi-Fi catastrophe. Nowadays, the work-from-home life has become a fixture instead of an infrequent perk, and many of us are scrambling to create designated workspaces in our homes. Kitchen tables are doubling as classroom desks and boardrooms. Couches and beds are working double duty as decidedly non-ergonomic office chairs.
While we can’t magically make your home bigger or convince your five-year-old that video calls are not the best time to have a meltdown, we can introduce you to the wonderful world of shipping container home offices.
At first glance, shipping containers seem like a strange place to house a home office. But with a little vision and creativity, these units are an affordable, safe, and quiet way to create the home office of your dreams. Below, we will walk you through the benefits of a converted container office and give you some tips on creating the modern shipping container office of your dreams.
Benefits of a Shipping Container Office
It’s always helpful to see the benefits of a project on paper before you start, so here are some of the top benefits of offices made from shipping containers:
- Convenience: Home extensions are expensive, interrupt daily life, and usually take months to complete. Shipping container offices cause no such interruptions, and if you rent a shipping container from Mobile Mini, you’re looking at one-day delivery in most cases. Add a day or so for equipment and furniture installation, and you could go from bedroom baron to home office royalty in just a few days.
- Less Permanent: While you’re working from home five days a week right now, next year may look completely different. If you invest in a home office extension, you’ve put down tens of thousands of dollars and you will have that room in your home for good. By renting a shipping container home office, though, you can send your container back whenever you want. While converted container offices are sustainable and built to last, they’re also portable and can be taken off of your property whenever you want!
- Affordable: Home office extensions are expensive. If you’re building a larger home office from scratch, you can expect your costs to climb upwards of $20,000. Conversely, you can expect to pay $100-$150 in rent per month for a shipping container home office, depending on what size you want.
- Options, Options, Options: At Mobile Mini, we have shipping containers to meet any and all home office needs:
- Standard: Our standard units come in 10’, 15’, 20’, 25’, and 40’ options. These units are perfect for your standard home office needs and can accommodate office furniture, electronics, and so on.
- Extra-Wide: Extra-wide shipping containers come in 18’ and 25’ options and can accommodate heavy-duty or oversized office equipment and furniture. They’re perfect for those who want to invite a partner, friend, or colleague to (safely) work in your shipping container home office with you.
5. Safety: Mobile Mini shipping containers are made from 100% corrugated steel, meaning they are virtually weather-proof and can withstand heavy storms and other natural disasters.
How to Build a Shipping Container Office
One of the primary benefits of converting a shipping container into a home office is that you’re literally working on a blank canvas. Shipping containers are designed to transport cargo cross-country, and they tend to be empty steel boxes. This gives you a ton of space to get creative.
- Flooring: Shipping containers come with steel floors, but that doesn’t mean you need to embrace a minimalist office look. If you’re looking for an easy way to create a nice office ambiance, try installing a peel-and-stick floor. These easy-to-install/easy-to-remove floors come in wood, tile, even faux carpet motifs.
- Shelving and Cabinets: There are few things in life a good shelf can’t fix. Installing shelves and cabinets in your shipping container home office offers needed storage space for files, documents, and supplies, but also gives your space an immediate upgrade and will bring your new home office from “industrial chic” to “home office opulence” in the blink of an eye.
- Paneling: Paneling is more versatile than you think. On the outside of your shipping container home office, some faux (or real!) wood paneling will make your space seem more inviting, permanent, and warm. Inside, wall panels can mask your container’s steel walls, add a nice atmosphere to your office space, and provide better support for wall units, shelving, cabinets, artwork, or anything else you plan to hang in your new space.
- Accessories: One of the first things most people do when they start a new job is bring an armload of photos and pictures from home. These images connect you to your new office and bring a piece of home into your work life. Images and mementos of your friends and family will make your converted container office space feel more personal and give you a visual pick-me-up during long video calls and virtual meetings.
- Couches and Seating: A good couch and ergonomic chair are the ultimate office accessories. The better the seating options, the more time you will want to spend in your office, and the more productive you will be. If you decide to use partitions to create different rooms inside of your shipping container home office, you can even create seating areas for your kids or partner.
- Desks and Electronics: It’s hard to imagine a 2021 office space without a functional desk and working computer. When building out a home office space, your ultimate goal is to create an environment where you can be as productive as you would be in an off-site space. Office furniture, computers, printers, and other electronics will ensure that you can get your work done efficiently and comfortably.
- As an added benefit, office furniture helps to create a real distinction between your home space and your home office. Even though your shipping container will be outside of your home, it could still feel more casual than a permanent, off-site office space. Desks, bookshelves, and other office furniture tells your brain that you’re in a workspace; that feeling may keep you motivated and productive throughout the day.
- DIY Vending Machine: Hard work tends to lead to real hunger. Installing a coffee maker, snack fridge, water cooler, and snack station in your shipping container home office will keep you fed, well-hydrated, and sufficiently caffeinated throughout the day. Having food and drinks readily available will also decrease your need to go into your home (and get distracted) throughout the day.
If you purchase a shipping container to convert into an office, these renovations will last for life and provide you with years of home office bliss. Heading down the rental path? No problem! All of the design and renovation tips on our list are easy to disassemble and take down once your home office days have run their course.
Benefits of Renting vs. Buying Your Shipping Container Home Office
- Pandemics don’t last forever. While it may seem like COVID-19 will always be a part of our lives, the reality is that in the next 18 months, we will all likely be getting back to life pre-virus. Offices will open, socializing will become safer, and we will rely less on our home office spaces. Renting your shipping container home office gives you the flexibility to return your unit once you can get back to your regular 9-5 life.
- Renting is cheaper. Buying a shipping container can cost anywhere between $1,400 and $5,000 for a basic model; renting will run you around $100 per month. Even if you rented your shipping container for a full year, you’re still looking at a cost savings of over $200. Outside of the upfront costs of purchasing a unit, when you own a container any repairs or maintenance needs fall on you, while rentals tend to include upkeep.
- Service is included (with Mobile Mini). This is a big one. When you rent a shipping container from Mobile Mini, delivery, installation, relocation, and pick-up are included. This means that once you place your order, your job is done. Our team will bring your shipping container wherever you want it and stick around to answer any questions you may have. When you’re done with your unit, all you have to do is give us a call and we will come and pick everything up, leaving your property and space just like it was before we met you. We even cover relocation if you need your shipping container home office moved for any reason; just make sure it’s empty when we come to bring it to its new home.
Shipping Containers: A Modern Take on the Home Office
We are living in a new world, and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we have to adapt to change in order to thrive. Shipping container home offices are a sustainable, affordable, and convenient take on the home office for those of us who don’t have the time or the money needed to permanently renovate our homes. Unfortunately, we can’t wave a magic wand and bring the world back to the way it was in December 2019, but we can make sure that you have a great home office to help you thrive professionally in this new normal.