Everyone knows that people aren’t allowed to live in self storage units— and if you didn’t already know that, you do now.

But does the same necessarily go for using your self-storage rental as a workspace?

Many American workers are seeking space to work has offices across the country have closed amid the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. But working from home is full of distractions, and many people may have trouble finding extra space in their homes where they can work without interruption. Meanwhile, public locations where people like to connect to Wi-Fi and work (aka coffee shops), are also more or less off limits.

If you’re thinking that renting a unit at a self-storage facility and setting up workstation there sounds like the perfect solution, well, not so fast.

Can You Work In a Self-Storage Unit?

Young red haired man in casual clothing closing his storage box in warehouse

As it turns out, self-storage units are generally not zoned for occupancy or business activity. They do not meet code requirements necessary to serve as office space. That means conducting business, meeting clients, operating machinery is most likely off-limits. Pretty much anything except for storage is not allowed, unless you have permission from the storage operator.

Work You Can Do in a Self-Storage Unit

Interestingly enough, there are self-storage rental companies that offer units or spaces designed specifically to operate as workspaces. These units are priced higher than standard storage units, and are intended for commercial use. Some facilities also have conference rooms available for rent that tenants can use as needed, and some even have Wi-Fi.

These type of units offer many advantages for people looking for a place where they can “work from home” in peace. However, they are primarily there for small business owners who need storage space to store inventory. That way, they have a place where they can fulfill orders and have an office space for managing their business.

Here are three reasons why you might want to rent one of these workspaces:

  • Lower cost. If you’re looking for an office that will serve primarily as a base camp and won’t be seeing incoming traffic from customers, the cost of office rental in a standard business park can border on astronomical. Storage companies that offer workspace rental do so at a far lower price, allowing those who are just going into business for themselves to cut unnecessary expenditures.
  • Increased productivity. Working from a home office has its fair share of drawbacks, in addition to its benefits. Operating from home is far cheaper than renting storage units, but if you’re easily distracted you’ll likely find that having a space separate from home will yield a higher rate of work productivity.
  • Keeping home life separate. There’s a temptation by many who run a business out of their homes to work around the clock. This can wreak havoc on the needs of family, and can actually make for a far more stressful work life. Office storage units offer an affordable way to separate the two.

Why You Shouldn’t Work Out of a Storage Unit

Specialized business storage units aside, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t try setting up an office space in a traditional self-storage unit meant to store household belongings.

For starters, there is typically no electrical outlets or lights in a storage unit, let alone Wi-Fi or ethernet. Trying to draw power with an extension cord will only draw the ire of the storage management.

Additionally, storage units aren’t properly ventilated for human occupation. Temperatures may be uncomfortably hot or cold, even in a storage unit with climate control. A safe and comfortable temperature for your belongings isn’t always what you would feel comfortable working in.

Storage units also do not have bathrooms or running water, which are basic needs most people need at some point throughout the work day!

Finding Space to Work

However, if you are looking for a place to work out of during the pandemic, many storage facilities might have options for you. Just check to make sure that the unit is meant specifically for business or office use, otherwise you could be kicked out for violating the terms of your storage lease.

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Tony Emerson