Are garden offices the future for the UK workforce?
When it comes to our work life, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted all our lives in one way or another. For those in occupations where working from home is possible, this became the new norm in 2020 and still continues in 2021.
But as we see life gradually return to normal, many of us are keen to get back to the office and away from the confines of our home. With this said, reports suggest that the pandemic has shown many businesses that having employees work from home comes with many financial and physical benefits attached, raising the question of if remote working will be the new norm in the future.
However, who is to say that working remotely is limited to the same four walls of our living room? With remote working in question, we discuss the rise in the garden office trend and look at whether these are gradually shaping the future of the working world.
What is a garden office and why have one?
Garden offices, also referred to as garden rooms, are a separate building detached from your main home and are designed to create a comfortable and professional space for work. Other than helping to create a divide between your home and office life, garden rooms can be transformed into a quiet and tranquil place to escape to – especially when the UK’s lockdown rules have limited us to the same four walls of our home.
Recent search data collected between April 2020 and April 2021 finds that garden office-related terms have dramatically increased in popularity. The term ‘garden office shed’ increased by 200 per cent, along with the term ‘garden office pod’ increasing by 180 per cent, proving many people have taken an interest in the garden room trend.
Three reasons why people are choosing to work from home
So, why invest in a garden office? There are many reasons why remote workers are opting for this over their main home as a place to work. Here are three to consider.
1) You reduce travel time
It’s a given that working from your garden saves both money and time on commuting. No one likes spending time stuck in traffic or dedicating an unnecessary amount of money towards fuel every month, so with home working both of these can be avoided. It even benefits the environment too!
2) You enjoy a better work and home life balance
Sometimes, having a structured working hours schedule gets in the way of our life outside of work. Although jobs should always be set as a priority, garden offices allow us to be more flexible when it comes to balancing work life with our home one.
For those with children especially, spending as much time with them as you can and being part of their everyday life is something every parent wants. So, working from your garden makes this easier to do, unlike working from an office.
3) You avoid office gossip
Anyone who has worked in an office environment before will know that sometimes it can be difficult to concentrate on a task with numerous other conversations going on around you. From catch-ups in the kitchen to phone calls being made every few minutes, it’s not always easy to focus with so much going on around you. With garden offices, however, all of this can be avoided, helping you do each task to the highest of quality in a shorter amount of time.
Garden office inspiration – where to start
Now, the question is, where do I start? Data suggests that one question on a lot of people’s minds is how much it will cost, with the search term ‘garden office cost’ increasing by 200 per cent between April 2020 and April 2021. To answer this question, the average cost to create a garden office can vary between £5,000 and £25,000.
Although this is quite a hefty sum of money to spend on a space, in the long run, this can add an incredible amount of value to your home – between 5-7% to be exact.
Three ways you can save money on your garden office
So, if you’re in need of some garden office inspiration, take notes of these top tips on how to save money in the process.
1) The foundations
For those who have a family member or friend who is in the building trade or knows someone who is, shopping local for a construction business can not only help support local businesses, but save you money too.
As for the basic materials that are needed at this stage, such as concrete plates, bricks, and other materials for the frame of the structure, make sure to have a look around for the most cost-effective suppliers. The likes of Gumtree and Facebook marketplace are a good place to start!
2) Interior design
This is where the fun part begins. When it comes to designing your garden office so that it never gets boring to look at, now is the time to get creative. Firstly, decide on a theme. Since it is your own personal space, think about what kind of things make you happy and use that as the catalyst behind some interior inspiration.
Perhaps you have an eye for bright and vibrant furniture pieces, or maybe you have an interest in knitting your own throws or cushion covers. Alternatively, you could opt for a particular sport-theme you enjoy – whatever it is, pick a theme and add a personalised twist to your garden room.
Since this is the most creative aspect of the process, there is one main activity that can help you cut costs in the design stage: DIY. Platforms such as YouTube are full of easy-to-follow guides on how to DIY everything from building a bed frame to making an entirely new room. Of course, some work might require the help of a professional depending on what it is but assessing what could be done yourself helps to cut costs.
3) The final finishing touches
After the main interior work is done, the final finishing touches need to be added. Other than the additional home décor that you choose to buy or make yourself, the exteriors of your garden office can also be enhanced with some creative flair and make it the centrepiece of your entire garden.
What better time to invest in some gardening work than after building a garden room? Framing your garden room with an array of vibrant flowers and plants can help bring your space to life. Moreover, you could also purchase a variety of solar-powered lights suitable for outdoor use and create a cosy night-time setting to relax in after work.
This can be a relatively inexpensive task too. All you need is a few garden tools and some seeds for your chosen flowers and shrubs. Compost Direct have a handy soil calculator, to help you work out much soil you’ll need for the borders around you garden room.
The future of working from home remains unclear. However, one thing we do know is that garden offices continue to be an interest the nation shares, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Compost Direct, an online retailer of sustainably sourced compost, mulches, plant feeds and more.
Photo by Georgia de Lotz