One innovative way to set up a home office rather cheaply that’s separate from the rest of the home is to build one out of a shipping container. This is fast to do and extremely cost-effective, as most of the construction is already in place, and the container just needs a few modifications. Learn how shipping containers are leading the way for office space for work at home.
As the internet continues to grow and develop, telecommuting has become much more effective enabling entrepreneurs to conveniently work from home.
Working from home has several advantages, these include:
- Having more time to spend with your family.
- Better work-life balance.
- More freedom.
- And tax advantages.
In addition to these benefits, a home office also lessens the financial effort required to start a business as it provides workspace at a low price – you know how expensive office space can be.
In most homes, however, space comes at a premium, which means finding room to set up a tiny home office – let alone a spacious one – is somewhat a pipe dream.
But even when a spare room is available, sometimes it’s still not possible to convert it into an office for one reason or another. Don’t despair though, if you’ve got a large enough space on your property, then there could be a solution that would allow you to have your dream office; the shipping container!
From steel box to home office
Invented more than five decades ago, the ISO shipping container has revolutionised how we move cargo. But even though containers are extremely important for shipping, they become a problem as soon as they deliver the cargo they were carrying as transporting them back to their port of origin is expensive.
Because of high translocation costs, importers opt to buy new ones rather than re-using the old ones creating a problem; surplus containers lying idle in yards with no use. These ‘useless’ steel boxes provide the perfect solution for anyone trying to create affordable space. With just a few modifications, a shipping container can be transformed into a comfortable, functioning home office.
The concept of converting shipping containers to create shelters for different uses is not new. People have been upcycling these steel boxes ever since they came into existence. It’s only recently, however, (fuelled by growing global trade and increased environmental awareness) that the trend has picked up pace. Cargo containers have for long been used by the military to build hospitals and mobile offices. They’ve also been used in disaster-struck zones for shelter and clinics.
Shipping container onsite office
For people looking for temporary office space and don’t desire to construct permanent premises for use on job sites, shipping containers also provide the perfect solution. Containers provide an affordable and convenient office space solution for construction sites, mining operations, and other temporary worksites.
Cargo container offices can be installed anywhere regardless of the terrain. This kind of offices combines the toughness, security, and portability of a shipping container with all the comforts and amenities of a regular office.
Traits that make shipping containers ideal for office conversions
There’re several characteristics that make shipping containers a good office construction material. These are:
- Strength. Cargo containers are made to withstand the rough conditions of the sea. Their innate strength makes them ideal for modification as no extra work is needed to make them secure.
- Mobility. The infrastructure to move shipping containers is readily available which makes it easy and affordable to move your container structure from one location to another.
- Stack-ability. If you require more room, but there isn’t enough space to fit more than one container, you can stack several to create a multi-storey structure.
- Ruggedness. Cargo containers are made to be used outdoors which makes them quite rugged. This means they can withstand the elements without suffering damage. Their weatherproofing also ensures that the stuff inside is well protected.
- Affordability. Acquiring a new or used shipping container for construction is cheaper than building an office using traditional materials.
Choosing the right container for your office
It might look quite straightforward, but there are several considerations you need to make when buying a shipping container to convert into an office. These include:
- Size. The size of the container you buy will be determined by the amount of office space you require and the space available for the office. Depending on these, you can choose between 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft containers. Custom sizes are also available.
- New or used container. A used cargo container is less expensive than a new one, but a new one will be in pristine shape and condition.
- Price. Container inventories and prices change seasonally, check with various suppliers to get the best deal. We’ll gladly provide you with a free quote.
- Delivery fees. Depending on your location, delivery of the container could be included or charged separately. Ask before you buy.
- Features of the sea container. Some shipping containers might have some extra features such as racks, ramps or ventilation which could help reduce conversion expenses.
Some of the modifications you need to install on your shipping container to transform it into a functional office include:
- Doors and windows
- Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC).
- Wiring, lighting and electrical i.e. lights, sockets, phone, and internet.
Refurbishing a Used Container for Your Office Needs
Sprucing up a used container yourself so that you can use it for your office purposes isn’t as easy as many people may think. First, you may need to apply a fresh paint to the interior to cover up the scratches and dents present in the old container to make your office look new and attractive. You may need to prep, prime and then paint the exterior of your container. If there are any repairs required, such as holes, dents or scratches, you’ll need to fix those.
Refurbishing your container makes it look better and allows it to serve you longer. Other things to consider:
Installing Doors and Windows
Just like any other office, your container must have doors and windows to foster ventilation and increase the lighting inside the container. Standard shipping containers usually come with lockable double swing doors at each end of the container. The double doors can be ideal if you are a person who likes versatility and flexibility or you can customize your container with an aftermarket door if you don’t like the doors which come with the container.
Advantages of Using Shipping Container Offices
They Are Portable: Shipping container offices can be carried to any place conveniently. Easy to install and remove, these onsite containers are great for architects, project managers, regional sales managers and any other proprietor whose work isn’t restricted to one place. Since they can be moved easily, they are suitable to be used anywhere at any time of the year. They can be quickly installed and even easier to take them away.
They can be Customised: These office shipping containers can be modified to suit your office needs. The lighting system, doors, flooring, furniture and other things can be installed depending on your needs. Other things such as air conditioning systems can also be installed if you need them.
They are Spacious: Other than being comfortable and versatile, onsite shipping container offices are spacious. There is enough space for your office furniture, printers and other office equipment. Just remember to choose good quality, durable and secure containers and remember that you can actually join containers together to form larger office structures making it easier to get the space you’d want.
Generally, contractors, engineers and other professionals are now embracing the use of shipping containers as durable, portable and versatile offices, which can be used in a variety of places. This is a form of mobile office, meaning you can move your office whenever you need. Being weather-resilient, these containers can keep all your office documents and equipment safe from the elements and secure from intruders.
Remember to choose the right container based on your business requirements. Ask us for assistance in choosing the best shipping container for your office needs.