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Your Backyard, Your Office: Rethinking WFH Space

If you’ve ever seen State Farm’s “She Shed Cheryl” commercials, then you’re familiar with the notion of a customized backyard workspace. As it happens, the longer we spend working from home, the more many of us fantasize about the comfort and luxury of having our own she shed or man cave, as the case may be — a quiet, dedicated space for the day’s work.
DEN, a remote performance software company, and Method Homes, a construction firm, have partnered with an eye on turning such fantasies into realities. DEN has tapped Method Homes to build its resiDEN smart remote office, as shown above. But this is no average backyard she shed.
Powered by the DEN IQ remote work environment software, a resiDEN is an enterprise-ready smart office unit featuring physical and digital security, centralized control, dedicated video call display, surround sound, lighting, and an HVAC system in either a 90-square foot or a higher-end 130-sq.ft. footprint, which comes with a mini-fridge, coffee maker, and recliner. “The ultimate goal is to drive performance and job satisfaction,” Mark Allen Stuart, DEN CEO, and founder said in a call with WorkSpace Connect. With resiDEN for their remote workers, enterprises also get access to DEN’s DENadvance professional development platform.
The DEN IQ platform is customizable to meet the multi-sensory needs of a remote environment. Toward that end, DEN has focused on making the platform “synonymous with entertainment, integration, environmental, “communications and collaborative software, and biometrics,” by allowing connectivity to digital services, corporate business systems, and a variety of devices, Stuart said. Workers can control their remote office spaces using the DEN IQ mobile app.
DENadvance, as mentioned above, is a dual-purpose strategic workplace platform. Managers can tap into DENadvance for guidance for managing the performance of a remote workforce, while individuals can learn through best practices advice on virtual presentations, remote collaboration, and time management.
“Think of the residential hardware unit as the body, [DEN] IQ as the mind, and [DEN]advance as really the soul and the heart,” Stuart said.
A Day Inside a resiDEN Smart Office
DEN hopes that workers can develop a “flow” state of mind while working in the resiDEN and being able to seamlessly integrate their physical and digital work environments, Stuart said. Here’s a sample for a DEN smart office user:
  • 7:00 a.m. – resiDEN rises from an energy-efficient sleep cycle and reaches a temperature of 72.5 degrees before raising its exterior lights to 35%
  • 7:25 a.m. – You take a short stroll to your resiDEN, which authenticates your entry via facial recognition, says “good morning,” and alerts you about your 8:00 a.m. call
  • 7:30 a.m. – As the lights and blinds raise, your customized morning playlist begins to play
  • 7:55 a.m. – Your fixed video conferencing monitor presents the meeting agenda, attendees, and prepared talking points for that 8:00 a.m. call. The overhead light brightens, and the windows tint to remove any backlight.
  • 8:00 a.m. – Your meeting auto-launches with immersive acoustics and high-definition video to “isolate you during the call.”
  • 1:30 p.m. –Before you hit afternoon sluggishness, the resiDEN adjusts the temperature to a cool 69.5 degrees and ambient lighting to 78% to help restore your focus and productivity

Interior (2) .jpg

(Image credit: DEN – Caption: interior of resiDEN 90 smart office)

And, throughout the day, a stoplight system on the exterior lets family members know your work status. A red light means busy, do not disturb, yellow means “preparation mode,” and green means “come on in to chat,” Stuart said. Once your calendar is closed, the system goes back into transition mode and gets ready for the next event.
DEN is in the process of trademarking what’s going to be called “plasma memory,” a play on a physiological internal body chemistry term, Stuart said. “It’s about building a learning system that dynamically and radically informs, rules, and improves performance,” he said. The objective is to gather user data about behaviors (what one does and doesn’t do), pull that data into the plasma memory platform, and push it back out to the user to recommend ways to modify performance operations throughout the business day, he explained.
DEN is working with Method Homes to either pre-assemble a resiDEN at Method’s factory or bring it out modularly. “Assembly will be on our side, not on the individual user side,” Stuart said.
DEN is accepting pre-orders, with a pilot program slated for next spring with the launch to follow in select U.S. cities in the summer 2021. DEN hasn’t released pricing, but Stuart said it will be offering a subscription model that would include the software, the resiDEN unit, and skill and cultural support.