COVID-19 changed a lot of things for the world, and while some of them have already gone back to normal, other changes seem to be here to stay. In particular, the number of people working from home (either flexible or full-time) has gone from around 12% pre-pandemic to around 84%, with many employees requesting flexible working as part of new contracts or negotiations. And that’s before we add in all of those self-employed and new start ups that have sprung up in the last few years!
All of which means that the standard UK house’s use has changed a bit. Instead of being just a family home, many houses now need to double as a permanent workspace for at least 1 adult. Since UK homes weren’t designed for this dual purpose, most people will find they struggle with space. So the question many people are asking now is, how do I make more space to work from home? If you own your home, you have 3 great options to chose from.
The Spare Room
The first and, frankly, cheapest option is to work from your spare bedroom, if you have one. This is the starting place for many young businesses, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be a perfect home office space. It’s a risk free option that gives you no overhead to worry about. The downsides? The spare room is usually the smallest in the house, and it doesn’t give you any separation between work and home life. As a temporary solution during the pandemic it worked out well, and if you don’t really need much equipment or space then it might be the best option for you. But if you need more space or separation, option 2 or 3 might be a better fit.
Extend A Room
If you’re already limited on garden space, or don’t want to lose what you have, then a room extension could be the perfect solution. Adding another room to your office will give you space and flexibility for the future, as well as increasing the value of your house in the same motion. It’s also a great opportunity to increase the space of your living room or kitchen, if the office space is on an upper floor. Extending your existing office gives you a convenient working space and gives you ultimate flexibility.
However, we will say that extending your home in any direction can be disruptive at the best of times, and when you’re still going to be working at home through that building work, you may need to consider a temporary solution, like hot-desking in a local co working space, while your extension is being built.
Build A Garden Office
The third, and frankly most popular option for those who will be working at home for the foreseeable future is to build a Garden Office. This is a self-contained space in your garden that serves as a bespoke office space for your needs. There are a wide variety of styles, shapes and sizes you can choose from, or have an office custom designed to meet your needs. The structure can be built without planning permission in many cases (depending on the final design you choose and your local council rules), and they offer a much more practical solution. They are more economical for a start, plus they can be built quicker and without the added disruption to your household. We’ve seen people use Garden offices for everything from desk jobs to art studios, crafting spaces, hosting training and pretty much everything else you could think of. They can be fitted with power, insulation, heating, air conditioning, weathertight roofing and even plumbing, so it’s like being in an indoor office, but at the bottom of your garden. And because they are so versatile, if your work circumstances change they can be converted into another space, like a summer house or even a home cinema, if you wanted. Adding a garden room to your home will also add value in the long run, though not quite as much as an extension would.
Flexible working is changing the way we view and use our homes, and we’re seeing more and more clients looking to create a blended work and home space. What exactly that looks like is up to you, but if you’re not sure, it’s always worth consulting an expert. At DNA Brickwork & Builders, we’ve worked on a number of office extensions and garden offices, and are always happy to help you work out which office solution would be right for you. Just get in touch to book your free site review today.