Friday, May 25, 2012

The Tiny Home Office

The other day, Ali asked:

I'm most curious about how the two of you will do your location-independent work in your tiny house. It seems that living space would need to be traded in order to have a comfortable home office. Where/how do you plan on working, keeping computers, a printer, files and books, etc? Thanks!
I answered on her comment, but I thought it might be good to devote a whole post to the tiny home office.

Matt still works for a large international corporation, but the company encourages remote work so he can work from anywhere. To save power and space, he is able to use a Android Tablet to log into his company's networks. He can take conference calls from anywhere. Occasionally he needs to log into his work laptop to access things but then goes back to the tablet for daily interactions.  It works very well for him.

I work primarily from my laptop in this corner.

This set up works perfectly for me, plus I have a great view out the window. 

Technically, my "home office" is a laptop case. When I am not working everything is stored there including all my USB chargers for various devices, the laptop itself, my headset for any calls or chats, and any number of other things one might need.

All of my work is done via the Internet so most of my file are transferred electronically to my clients. All of my research is done that way as well eliminating the need to keep paper books. We do have a printer but rarely need to print anything. If we do need to print something we would simply bring the printer up from the barn, use it, and return it to its storage location. We have converted all of our files to electronic files. Even if I need to print something - say a contract that I need to sign - I can scan using a scanner app on Matt's tablet and store it that way. I keep all my invoicing on excel spread sheets.

The philosophy behind location independence is to be able to work from anywhere in the world. So keeping files on the Internet and on a laptop or tablet are essential for this lifestyle. Occasionally we will go up to the local coffee shop to have a change of scenery in our day.  We could even get out a camp chair and work outside if we wanted to.

So far, location independent work has been very good to me. I have some opportunities to work for some great publications and web sites, including Tiny House Talk. And, of course, living this way give me plenty of opportunities to update this blog!

7 comments:

  1. Nice! Have you looked into Google Docs or Dropbox for storing your documents? I use an external drive for mine but have started to use it less since I have it all most of my docs online. Also since their both web based I can access them from any computer and print them out.

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  2. Samurai, the Dropbox is a great tool for storage and file sharing and it's free.
    Laura, I just discovered your site through Alex Pino at Tiny House Talk. He's a great guy!
    I really envy you. Some years ago, I bought and operated a three state franchise and decided to base it in Chattanooga as I had business in Atlanta, Knoxville and Nashville and was a terrific city. I always wanted to take time to go to Asheville as I had heard so many wonderful things about the city and the area. You have, no doubt, come to realize what is important and I am glad for you. Keep posting to your blog and I will keep reading.

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  3. Dropbox is great. I love your little work nook. I think if I lived on property as gorgeous as it looks in your background pic I'd work outside as often as the weather allowed. Then again, what a wonderful little nook to work in with the window right there :) I am really enjoying your blog. I think the next step for us is going to be trying out living in a tiny home temporarily to see how little we are willing to go. I've lived in small spaces before, and Carlie used to live in a cute bungalow and our idea has actually been that we'd like to build a small community of tiny houses and each have our own space. But maybe we wouldn't even need to take that route. We will see.

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  4. Inspiring! I am trying to achieve a similar lifestyle, but I don't think my profession would be well suited for a tiny house. I am a pet portrait artist so my art supplies take up a little space. My husband also works from home because he is a photographer. So we both need office space. He has a lot of equipment. If I decide to start doing oil paintings I would consider building a tiny studio with good ventilation. I don't want those fumes in my living space.

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  5. I just discovered your blog. I am thinking about moving to Cleveland, Georgia and going the route of the tiny house. My one main must is Internet. How are you getting online, satellite, disk?
    Thatnk you for this wonderful resource!

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    1. Thanks for the question! I am glad you found us. The internet was obviously one of the big things to being able to live like we do. Most wireless phone companies (Verizon, AT&T etc) offer personal wireless "hotspot" devices. We have the MiFi from Verizon and it works great. I am online most of the day. We added a antenna to it that sits on our roof and boosts the signal to 4G.

      Before you move (Cleveland GA is lovely!) check out what wireless providers get the best signal in the area and consider their wireless internet products.

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  6. Just the info I needed. Thank you. I am thoroughly enjoying the blog.

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