How have you found working from home? Have you actually enjoyed it a little more than going into the office? Have you got more work done in your distraction-free home? Would you like to continue working from home in the future? If you’ve become a fan of the work from home laptop lifestyle over the past year, perhaps now’s the time to really commit to it and create a home office for yourself…
Go on, you can admit it – there are bonuses to WFH aren’t there? Such as having no commute, working in your comfy clothes, getting a cuppa whenever you fancy and taking a break at 10:30 every morning for Popmaster on Radio 2 – am I right?? But what we haven’t enjoyed quite so much is the lack of space (and sometimes privacy) of not having a dedicated home office. Many of us have been working on dining tables, on desks tucked under the stairs and even on laptrays on our beds. It’s comfy, sure, but it’s not the most productive way to work.
So today I’m exploring some home office options that you can easily add to your garden to give you the space and peace you need while working from home. Perhaps you’ve even had a change of job over the past year and needed to go freelance or to start up your own indie business. Both of these activities will no doubt be improved if you can take your business off the kitchen table and set up a dedicated space for you to work.
A neighbour of ours has recently had a log-cabin installed in their garden and I couldn’t quite believe how quickly it appeared. One morning a truck pulled up and only a few hours later the roof was on and they could start using their new home office straight away. Okay, I’m sure not all log cabins are as easy to install: it’ll probably depend on the size and complexity of the design, but it seemed to just slot together like a big Lego kit and was finished no time at all. Although many showrooms are closed at the moment, you can still find log cabins for sale online and once it’s been delivered and professionally installed all you have to do is move in your desk and start working.
Log cabins are a great option if you want a more permanent home office; one that’s perhaps insulated or with electrics installed so that you can work outside in all weathers and at any time of day. They can also be made to much larger sizes than a regular shed, which is ideal if you’ve started a business and need to make products or keep stock in your home office as well as working at a desk. I’ve even seen log cabins converted into unique tiny homes on Airbnb (subject to planning regulations, of course) so it would have a potential future use if you ever go back to working at your company’s HQ when it’s safe to do so.
How many of us have caravans or campervans sitting on the driveway that aren’t being used at the moment? While holidays are off the cards, why not use the space as your home office? Or, if you’re anything like me, buy a really really old caravan that’ll never go anywhere but that will live in your back garden as a cute home office. When I was living in the world’s smallest 1 bedroom bungalow I desperately needed some space for a home office. I was making products that I sold online and I was working as a freelance writer. So when I saw an old Alpine Sprite caravan for sale for £100, I snapped it up.
I was still road-worthy at the time but it has since moved to it’s final parking spot – it’s fenced into the garden of my new home! It’s watertight, has a table that I can work at and space to store everything I needed for my business. Plus, it’s in a lovely sunny spot I the garden, surrounded by plants and I can open the front window up wide to listen to the birds. Since moving to our new home, I have a home office indoors in the box room, but it’s still nice to work outside from time to time. We also use it for craft projects and for modelmaking with Jim Parkyn.
If you’ve not got much of a budget for creating a home office space, maybe you already have the building you need in your garden? Do you have an old shed? It doesn’t really matter what size or style it is, as long as there’s a roof and a window, you can easily give it a makeover to turn it into a usable outdoor office. The thing to prioritise over decorating or flooring is making sure that the building is sturdy and watertight. So check it over carefully and replace any rotting timbers, renew the felt on the roof and give it a fresh coat of protective garden paint.
Then you can begin to tackle the interior. You might want to clad out the walls with plywood to give you a more finished officey-vibe but you could also just paint the inside of the shed walls in a light or bright colour to instantly transform it into somewhere you would be happy to work. Add offcuts of vinyl flooring or carpet and use solar-powered lights to illuminate the interior. Making use of an existing shed or summerhouse is a good low-cost solution for working outside in the spring and summer, but when the weather cools down and the days get darker you’ll probably want to migrate back inside the house!
What do you think of these ideas for creating a home office in your garden? What are you currently using as your work-from-home base? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your tips for creating an office space at home. 🙂
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