“An Englishman’s shed is his castle” is a reworking of the old saying that’s surprisingly true, even in this gadgety electronic age. So now a U.K.-based company is working to reinvent the humbled shed as an eco-friendly home-office solution for e-commute workers.
But according to the company behind the new idea, one of the key reasons telecommuting hasn’t taken off very quickly is the lack of “a service-oriented offer” that can efficiently encompass all of the hardware and legal/health and safety aspects of creating a good working environment at home. Hence OfficePod is designed to be quick to install, comply with regulations, and is leased for £5,000 ($7,200) per year. That’s getting towards half of the amount that the company says it costs to house a worker in a typical centralized office environment–£9,000 ($13,000). That’s a considerable savings, and the all-in-one nature of the lease sounds like it would be a tempting offer for smaller companies that don’t have the advanced infrastructure to support remote-sited workers or even larger ones looking to save costs.
And the product is very interesting–it’s not just a simple office cubicle translated to a new setting: OfficePod has been designed with some very understandable criteria.
“1. To create a self contained office that exceeds all standard office accommodation regulations & requirements.
2. To provide an environment that is conducive to productive work.
3. To create a product that staff would want, and even be proud to have, in their garden.
4. Have the minimum impact on the environment – both in manufacture and use.”
To that end the 2.1-meter square structure is not unattractive, uses recycled materials, installs easily, and is heavily insulated for energy efficiency (and presumably against typical British weather.) It gets power via a connection to the house’s electricity and assumes wireless connectivity for the PC and telephone. And I’d certainly have one in my garden–it’d be a fabulous environment to work in, and the idea of shutting the door on the pod at the end of a day of work and returning “home” through the flower beds is great.
Alas, I don’t have a garden, which is going to be an impediment to OfficePod’s potential proliferation. The home-owning housing model common in the U.K. isn’t necessarily applicable elsewhere. Plus, I’d be nervous about the pod being a target for burglars. Still, all in all it’s a fabulous idea and it’s getting a first public showing this week in The Cumberland Hotel in London.