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Setting Up a Workspace in Your RV

*Disclaimer: This post is part of a content series sponsored by Camping World. All opinions are our own.

By now you’ve heard or read about the massive shifts happening in the world of work. More and more jobs (and entire companies) are going completely virtual or remote – meaning that there is no need for the employee to physically go to an office/location to perform their job functions. This has been the trend for many years now, but the COVID-19 Pandemic fueled exponential growth in remote working.

This shift is really exciting for those wanting to experience the joys and benefits of full-time RVing as it provides more opportunities to not only earn income, but receive employer sponsored benefits like health insurance and retirement plans. And, with the continued improvement of mobile internet, there quite literally has never been a better time to take your life (and career) on the road.

Working Inside an RV?

While traveling and living on the road sounds enticing, for many current or prospective full-timers, actually “working from the road” does not sound very enjoyable for a variety of reasons. Primarily, the thought of being “crammed” in your RV for 8-10 hours staring at a computer can sound pretty unpleasant.

In our experience of full-timing and extended part-timing since 2017 while working remotely, the key to success is establishing a dedicated working space that meets your specific needs. If you happen to work remotely in a traditional 9 to 5, you’re going to spend a significant portion of your time working so it is critical that your RV be set up in a way that allows for a comfortable working environment.

Tips for Setting Up Your RV Workspace

Thinking About Your Specific Needs

It is important to have a dedicated workspace in your RV, but where and what that looks like will vary greatly depending on your specific working needs. Are you someone that needs multiple monitors or additional equipment to perform your job? Do you need a place that is quiet so you can take customer calls? Or, do you simply need a place to put your laptop so you can create content.

The type of work that you do most regularly should be the starting point for how you set up your workspace. For me, my workspace requirements have changed over the years we’ve spent RVing. 

When I first started, I needed my computer, at least one large monitor and a chair. Then, I left my job to focus more on growing this blog and other ventures and I really only needed my computer and a place to sit. I didn’t have to stay connected to the computer for any set amount of hours so I would often find myself working from the dinette one day and from the bed the next.

man working on a laptop overlooking lake

Now, however, I am back to working full-time so that we could pursue our dream of adoption. I’m in a role that requires much more time on the phone and more consistent working hours. Now, I need a comfortable chair, monitors, a mouse, headset and a quiet work space.

Thinking About Your RV or Future RV

Once you have established what your work space needs are, it is time to think about your RV’s layout and features and determine how many of your needs you think you can meet. Ultimately, you’re asking yourself if you can make your existing layout/features work for your situation because that is going to be the easiest way to make working on the road possible.

Option 1: Using What’s Already There

While RV’s come in all shapes and sizes, there are some commonalities to them and areas that are great places to consider establishing your workspace.

Built-in Desk

Some RV’s, especially newer ones like this Keystone Avalanche 365MB have desks already built in. If you haven’t purchased an RV yet, a built in desk might be a feature that makes one RV more desirable than another.

RV model with built in desk
The 2022 Keystone Avalanche 365MB has this really nice built in desk

If you are lucky enough to have a built-in desk, that is probably the best place to create your workstation. However, just because the RV has a desk, that doesn’t mean that the space will work for you.

Can the built-in desk serve as my workstation?

  • Is there a power outlet close by? Does the outlet work on the inverter, if there is one?
  • Is there space for a comfortable chair while working at the desk? Is there a place to store the chair when not in use?
  • Is the desk at the right height when you are using it?
  • Is there enough space on the desk to make it work for your needs?

The Dinette

Most RV’s have a table where you can sit and eat. This is easily the most common place to establish a working space if your RV doesn’t have a built-in desk. You already have a solid flat surface to get started, which is pretty much the most important part of a desk. That being said, dinettes vary greatly between RVs and your dinette may or may not be a great place to work.

 

Can the dinette serve as my workstation?

  • Is there a power outlet close by? Does the outlet work on the inverter if there is one?
  • Are the chairs or cushion comfortable enough to sit for extended periods of time?
  • Do you use the dinette to eat or is there somewhere else that you tend to eat?
  • Will you have to break your desk down everyday?

Passenger Seat

The passenger seat is another popular place for RVers to create a workspace, especially in class A motorhomes. Many love this because the seat is heavily cushioned and comfortable and there is a big window to look out. Many RV manufacturers place an electrical outlet near the passenger seat (and sometimes a desk surface) to make working from this space more comfortable.

Can the passenger seat serve as my workstation?

  • Is there a power outlet close by? Does the outlet work on the inverter if there is one?
  • Is the chair comfortable for working? Can you get into a position that is right to work rather than to ride in the vehicle?
  • Is there sufficient space to work? Is the space easy to access or do you have tables, center consoles etc to get over?
  • Will you have to break your desk down frequently due to travel and does that work for you?

Toy Hauler Garage

Toy haulers are RVs that have a dedicated space for storing and transporting your toys i.e. motorcycles, dirt bikes, ATVs, etc. This space is usually called the garage. The garage can be a really good place to establish a work space.

In many toy hauler RVs there are built in dinettes that could serve as a desk, or you have the additional space to create your own setup. Additionally, a lot of RV garages have doors that separate the garage from the living space, which allows for a quiet area to work. If that wasn’t enough, many garages have doors that lay down and turn into an outdoor patio area, which would be the best “break room” in town.

The garage of this Heartland Pioneer RG26 would make a perfect office set up

Option 2: Creating Something New

No matter how hard you try, or how thoughtful the RV manufacturer is, any of the above mentioned spaces will never be 100% perfect for working. Primarily because these spaces usually serve multiple purposes and aren’t designed to be full time offices. Therefore, many RVers choose to customize their RV to cater better to working full-time on the road.

If you are able and have the desire to do so, customizing your RV to truly fit your work life is highly recommended. Creating something specifically designed with your work needs in mind will allow you to be as productive as you can possibly be. 

No Shortage of Innovation or Options

Modifying or renovating your RV can be a scary proposition, but rest assured, there are many people out there that have done it with incredible results.

But, you don’t have to necessarily go crazy and start ripping our walls. Luckily, there are some products that are designed to make it easy to create a better workstation without a lot of changes. Take for example this multi purpose dinette that converts to a modern workstation with the touch of a button! 

Find Inspiration

If you’ve been reading this and you are leaning towards modifying or renovating your RV to create your perfect workstation, check out some of these examples we found on Instagram for inspiration!

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Lauren | RV Life (@woodlandcreatur)

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Gypsy Jones | RV Life (@gypsyjonesroams)

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Fabian, Becky, JR, & Jag (@proceedingonwardinamerica)

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by 𝗟𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗧𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗥𝗩 ♡ RV RENOVATIONS (@lovethatrv)

 

Sacrifices and Benefits

Regardless of how you set up your dedicated workstation in your RV, there will always be some sacrifices to working on the road. You’ll undoubtedly run into issues that you probably wouldn’t in a traditional work environment. There is nothing like trying to balance your 11:00 AM campground checkout time with your morning meeting or working all day from a random parking lot with enough space and enough signal to complete your job in between RV reservations.

But, that being said, there is nothing quite like having changing work views out your office window or being steps away from adventure when your work day ends.

Conclusion

In the end, I believe that full-time RVing is one of the greatest experiences you can have. Being able to do that AND work is truly amazing and makes me so happy to be alive during this time! But, work is still work and if you are going to work from the road, it is important for you (and your employer) to have a dedicated workspace where you “go” to focus and get your job done. Hopefully this post has provided you some things to consider or inspired you to pursue working full time from the road!

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Related Posts:

Finding and Maintaining a Remote Job on the Road

5 Ways to Make Your RV Feel More Like Home

How to Make Money on the Road

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Will Belden
Will Belden
5 months ago

Could also do what we did! We ripped out the five-person sofa that came in our fifth wheel. (To watch TV, it was almost unusable as the TV itself is at a 90 degree angle from the slide. Made my neck hurt.) With the sofa gone, we put in a double desk. Much lighter than the sofa, too, so some weight savings. Here’s a link to what we bought: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B082V23YXM/ (Not an affliate link, but does support the Escapees C.A.R.E. charity.) Be sure you can be that close to your partner for long periods of time. (25 years of marriage,… Read more »