With more and more of us having to work from home during the crisis, it’s quickly going to be obvious to both employees and employers that there are advantages and disadvantages to this way of working. On the upside, the coffee’s always on! On the downside, now your neighbour’s teenagers are at home rather than at school, their music might always be on too.
Most homes are not designed as offices, though, and it might be time to think about how this could work for you and your employer in the longer term. After all, if your commute is just a few steps, it’s certainly going to relieve a lot of stress from being stuck in traffic and it’s also better for the planet. However, long term working from your sofa or kitchen table is not going to be good for your back, so it’s worth considering how you could create yourself a comfy workspace.
We came across some good advice here – https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2020/03/how-to-set-up-the-perfect-home-office/
There are many advantages to working from home, including:
● Increased productivity in your own space, fewer interruptions to your train of thought as there are no colleagues to come to bother you, or stand near your desk and chat.
● You can more easily arrange your working hours to suit you, for example starting and finishing earlier, or taking a longer lunch break, which means more family time.
● You’re working in a custom environment, set up to suit you. Your desk, chair, laptop positioning, plants around you and whatever you want on your desk – and no more fights over the office thermostat or whether to turn the air con on.
● Healthier and cheaper lunches since you’re at home and not buying takeout food in a hurry – and a breakfast you can enjoy, instead of eating it in a rush before leaving or wolfing it down on the go.
● Less stress as a result of all of the above!
It’s not all gravy though; there are some disadvantages too.
● Self-discipline is a must – lack of routine can lead to not being in the right frame of mind to work effectively, so get up as usual, shower, dress, and make sure you start at the same time every day.
● Take care to manage the separation of work and private life – the temptation is there to be ‘always on’, so be sure to turn your machine off at a reasonable time every day, and don’t be tempted to answer work emails on your phone ‘after hours’.
● Water cooler / coffee machine moments are harder to do at a distance, reducing creativity, and you may miss brainstorming and team building with your workmates. There are some good free conferencing apps out there, like https://zoom.us/, so why not set up a daily group meeting, and maybe a virtual ‘pub lunch’ every Friday to keep that team spirit up? Try out advanced features like screen sharing too. You’ll not only be fostering creativity in these difficult times, but also reducing the effect of social isolation on everyone’s mental health, including your own.
● Lack of exercise can rapidly become an issue for your health, especially if you’re used to incorporating it into your commute, or had a gym membership near work, so make sure you use your one hour permissible exercise period to go for a walk or a run, or do a YouTube workout every day while you’re at home.
If you’re convinced by the advantages of home working, and willing to deal with the disadvantages, you might not want to use the spare bedroom in the long term. If you have the option, maybe a garden office is the answer, where you can walk away from the home environment and work in your own dedicated space. You would still be right there for any domestic emergencies too! Why not give us a call or drop us a line to discuss how you could create your own garden office?
We’ve blogged previously about planning a garden room (https://www.scandinavianhomes.com/planning-a-garden-room/). Much of the advice there is very relevant for a home office sited in your garden. One of our stylish and warm log buildings might be just right for you, and one big advantage is that you could build it yourself (if you have the time).
Garden rooms can usually be built within your permitted development rights (see https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/43/outbuildings for the full rundown here), but you need to be aware that if you can’t site it at least 2 metres from your boundary, you’ll have to limit its height to 2.5m for planning reasons. Otherwise, you can usually have a building up to 4m high, as long as it has a standard pitched roof.
If you’re looking to build a garden office that’s larger than 30m², you’re going to need Building Control.
Whatever you choose to do, we can offer advice and guidance, as well as a stunning range of high quality Finnish garden buildings that can be used all year round, thanks to their robust construction. To find out more, go to https://www.scandinavianhomes.com/garden-rooms-studios-offices-and-saunas/