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The 10 Most Unusual Places To Set Up Your Office

March 12th, 2009 · 22 Comments

For many people, the office is synonymous with the mundane. Although offices can be interesting and exciting places, they are rarely unusual, especially if we spend most of our waking lives inside one.

With telecommuting becoming more common and desirable (52% of workers believe that their working life would be less stressful if they worked remotely), we lift the lid on the most extraordinary places in which one might choose to set up a home office.

You’ve heard of the mobile office, but some of these are ridiculous!

Garden Shed

Garden Shed

What do you keep in your garden shed: a lawn mower, tools, a broken bike, a jerry can, amateur bomb-making apparatus? How about a home office? It sounds unlikely, but the humble garden shed, favoured by writers in particular, is one of the more common places to find an office these days.

In many ways, the garden shed office is perfect, unless the next-door neighbour’s mowing the lawn or attempting to smoke you out with a bonfire. It’s generally peaceful: free from the distractions of everyday life, with a green and pleasant view.

Hut

Hut

The hut office offers similar benefits to the garden shed, except that, due to its smaller size, it can be made to fit into the smallest of gardens, or be located in the most secluded and beautiful spot within a larger garden.

The best example of the hut office is the writing hut of George Bernard Shaw, author of Pygmalion and Androcles and the Lion. His ingenious writing hut was mounted onto a revolving platform, so that his office could be rotated to follow the sun’s daily journey across the sky.

Toilet

Toilet

From offices with green and pleasant views to one with a brilliant white and altogether unpleasant vista: how about putting your office in the toilet? Before you dismiss this idea as madness, first consider its advantages: the toilet office is very easy to clean, and toilet breaks can become a thing of the past, as conference calls and a plethora of other professional tasks can be managed from the comfort of its pearly throne.

Of course, it has its disadvantages too: it’s hardly an inspiring atmosphere in which to work, and if you live with others, there can be frequent (and often odorous) disruptions.

Air Force One

Air Force One

Air Force One, The US President’s personal plane (in fact, there are two of them, but don’t tell anybody), has 4,000 square feet of floor space, split over three levels. It comes as no major surprise that there is an office space on board. Mr President has his own suite, complete with a large office, accompanying conference rooms and a rather decadent lavatory (which, rather boringly, does not have an office inside).

The plane’s other amenities include a medical suite, with operating theatre and full-time surgeon, two food preparation galleys capable of serving 100 guests, two convertible couches, 85 telephones, 19 televisions, 238 miles of wiring and a treadmill, installed at the request of a Mr George W. Bush.

Submarine

Submarine

Like the example above, the submarine office is not for everyone, but if you find yourself stranded at sea, underwater for months on-end in a poky steel submersible, you will need an office in which to work. Submarine offices tend to replace desks and tables with floor-to-ceiling walls of screens, buttons, switches and knobs. Paper is seldom used, both because of a submarine’s distinct lack of storage space, and its potential for getting a trifle soggy.

Cardboard Box

Cardboard Box

When your office is tiny and cramped, it can feel as if you’re working inside a cardboard box. Few people would actively seek out this type of work environment, but Paul Coudamy of the ad agency Beast, decided to build his entire office out of 4cm thick cardboard, to save money and of course, to look cool in the process.

Although a cardboard office can easily be damaged (no spilt cups of tea here please!), it is surprisingly comfortable and light and flexible enough to allow for frequent modifications of the office space.

Yacht

Yacht

Many people rich enough to own luxury yachts have been born into such immense wealth, that they barely have to work a day in their lives. The remainder of the world’s yacht owners tend to be such seasoned hard workers, that they can’t bear to be away from the office for the length of time it takes to cross the Thames, let alone the Atlantic.

For these workaholics, an office on board their yacht is a necessity, not a luxury. For the man who has everything, Engelmann Inc, of Ketchum, Idaho, build beautiful yacht offices out of solid mahogany and white oak.

Treehouse

Treehouse

Offices should be social spaces. Personal interaction is conducive to a strong, motivated team with common goals and objectives, contributing greatly to organisational efficiency. Some days however, usually following nights of heavy alcohol consumption, you just want to come into work, do your job, and get out as quickly as possible, preferably without talking to (or even making eye contact with) anybody, especially not your nagging boss or the nosey secretary.

For these days, there is the treehouse office, which affords its user solace and solitude. As with the garden shed, it offers beautiful panoramic views to benefit blue-sky thinkers.

Trailer

Trailer

If you can live in a trailer, as many Americans do, then you can easily work in one. Trailers are frequently used as an office on construction sites the world over, and can be set up in an instant when necessary, such as in a disaster zone.

Companies like Acton Mobile, in Baltimore, USA, lease and sell office trailers, and can build one to order within 6 weeks. Granted, they’re not the most glamorous places to work (compared to a solid mahogany yacht office anyway), but they serve an important purpose and are the most well-used and established of all the unusual offices in this list.

Underground

Underground

It’s not only Hollywood baddies like Dr Evil who use underground lairs as the centres of their malevolent operations. Offices exist in nuclear bunkers and many other subterranean locations around the globe. Westminster Council chose to site its £1.25 million CCTV control room under London’s streets, accessible only through a labyrinth of underground corridors beneath Piccadilly Circus.

Images of Londoners going about their daily business, captured by the capital’s share of the UK’s 4.8 million CCTV cameras, are beemed onto walls of plasma screen TVs, to be consumed by controllers and the Police.

Ever feel like you’re being watched? You are… but just possibly, not in your home office.

Tags: Offbeat

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Junaid Ahmed // Mar 17, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Seems like a good compilation of unusual office locations…

  • 2 Liam Delahunty // Mar 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

    We used to have an office on HMS President moored on the Thames.

    http://www.weddingvenues.com/images/listing_photos/3769_scanned-sh.jpg

    It was great but the clients would sometimes feel “sea sick”!

  • 3 Steven Finch // Mar 18, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Great list of interesting office locations..

  • 4 The 10 Most Unusual Places To Set Up Your Office | Bengt's Notes // Mar 18, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    [...] on Twitter posted a link to The 10 Most Unusual Places To Set Up Your Office. They range from a beautiful garden shed to a treehouse and a [...]

  • 5 Paul O'Connor // Mar 18, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Death to industrial parks! We set up shop with Appy over a pub, and use the pub itself as our conference room.

  • 6 Pingo // Mar 18, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    This is getting some solid RT on twitter. I’m dreaming of leaving my cubicle world. Looks like its time to hitch a trailer and bring my laptop and phone card and travel the world.

  • 7 Miryam H. // Mar 18, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Great site! Interesting ideas. Wish I had something as comfy as some of these. The cardboard office would definitely NOT suit my taste (I drink too much coffee), neither the office in the toilet although sometimes that’s where my business ends up.

  • 8 Tweetplate // Mar 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Sweet suites, friend. Could you work it on plane? Could you work it in a box? Could you work it in a loo? Yes, you could, and yes you do.

  • 9 Richard // Mar 20, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I have been working out of a shedquarters for a year, great in the summer but bleak in the winter!

  • 10 Greg Dawson // Mar 20, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Great post! The trailer would be my first choice. In fact, I’ve just recently gone freelance and am enjoying the heck out of being able to work from coffee shops, parks, etc. or just outside on my patio set while enjoying a nice cup of coffee!

    Found this site helpful too: http://www.laptophobo.com/preparations.htm

  • 11 Josh Schwinlger // Mar 20, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    I have actually converted a 1959 Airstream travel trailer into a mobile office/advertising unit. Teak hardwood floors, Baltic Birch built furniture and walls and a wine cooler. It is set up with wifi so you can work from anywhere. Not bad for a trailer! There are also Tv’s facing outside so you can advertising what you are selling! Check out my photos.

  • 12 Meredith // Mar 21, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Your office can be anywhere you have an Internet connection these days, but you have some interesting places here.

  • 13 Leeuna // Mar 21, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Ooohhhh! I want the tree house office. Love the view. (does it come with its own bathroom?)

  • 14 Merri Cvetan // Mar 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Talk about thinking outside the box! Even those of us who are confined to having an office at home should not be limited to dull and boring. Your home office should reflect your style and personality. After all, you spend many hours it it. Make it a fabulous place to go to every morning!
    Merri, The Design Coach

  • 15 Rivers Inlet Richard // Mar 23, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Sorry to be a pooh, but the office on a yacht, ain’t. It certainly looks beautiful, but you can see a tree through the windows that is far too close for the office to be afloat. Not to mention the windows are far too flimsy for the maritime environment.

    But the rest of the the article is great!

  • 16 Rob // Mar 23, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    @Leeuna I’d say a hole in the floor ;)

  • 17 Office Spaces in Unusual Places // Mar 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    [...] a really fun article titled The 10 Most Unusual Places to Set Up Your Office on Ahoys.com.  I know you’ll get a kick out of [...]

  • 18 Biz // Mar 31, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Unusual places for office indeed. Only Eskimo igloo is missing ;-)

  • 19 John H. // Jul 12, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Great article. The toilet office brings to mind George Costanza’a office on Seinfeld.

  • 20 Tom P. // Dec 12, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    It’s a good article. Maybe it will inspire some to think outside the “box”. I replaced our garage behind our house with a garden office for my business, with a different entrance & space for our garden equipment.

  • 21 Des // Feb 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Just love the treehouse! Never ever in an industrial area and not where you expect it!!!

  • 22 Flat Fee Recruitment // May 12, 2011 at 10:20 am

    What an incredible selection of weird offices, Air Force One looks amazing, you would never think that you were up in the air. The treehouse one is quite strange but I’m not too keen on heights so I’d have to give that one a miss. I think the toilet office would be a pretty bad idea as soon as someone had to go for a no.2. My fave would have to be the garden shed / office, it’d be nice to be out in the garden and it’d still feel separate from your home but still be close enough to it.

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