Stylish and insulated garden rooms for work or leisure can often be built without planning permission. Cost effective to heat, they can be used year-round
The most recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics in March 2020 indicate that currently 5.03 million people across the UK regularly work from home – an all-time high. This accounts for 15.3 per cent of all people in work.
As the global spread of Covid-19 continues apace, more people than ever are working from home, whether that be as part of a bid to prevent the virus spreading or during periods of self-isolation. Indeed, recent figures estimate that the numbers of people working remotely has already increased by more than 50 per cent in recent weeks.
For busy households, and in particular those also facing school closures as a result of the virus, adapting the home to become a productive and efficient workplace is a challenge. Of course, the solution will vary according to the individual, but here are some suggestions of things you could start to think about.
It can be very tempting to roll straight out of bed to your laptop when working from home, but maintaining a proper sense of routine is very important. Even if you’re not wearing full business attire, getting out of your pyjamas will help differentiate between work-time and home-time.
The old adage ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ rings true for a reason. Make sure you take regular opportunities to keep your body moving and step away from screens. A brisk walk with the dog, getting out in the garden or an online workout will all help to stave off cabin fever while adhering to government social distancing guidelines.
Take proper breaks
Taking time out for lunch is even more important when you’re working from home. Schedule in proper breaks, even blocking time out in your calendar if you have to. Eat a proper meal, step away from screens and give yourself some proper time off. You’ll find your productivity boosted when you get back to work just from taking that step back.
Assign a separate workspace
Finally, probably the biggest challenge of working from home is the inability to walk away and close the door on work. If you are working from a kitchen or dining table, then make sure you pack away as best you can at the end of each day.
For those who are fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom, a carefully considered layout can make it to create a dual-purpose space that can accommodate overnight guests and also work as an office. Using a daybed that pulls out to form a double bed, choosing a desk to fit within an existing cupboard or one that can be folded away when guest come to stay can all help a room easily transition between functions.
Having an office within the house can however make it difficult to escape the distractions of a busy household or the demands of children.
For a more permanent home office solution, adding a stylish garden room or annexe is fast becoming a popular alternative. These spaces can often be built without planning permission and can be manufactured off-site using materials like Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) meaning they can be constructed quickly and efficiently with handover of keys often achievable within three weeks of construction beginning. They are also cost-effective to heat and are therefore perfect for year-round use.
John Langley, director of Perthshire-based JML Garden Rooms, comments: “With the increase in people working from home and high demand for additional living space, we’re seeing a significant rise in demand for our garden rooms, office pods and garden annexes, particularly as people look to a future that may involve educating children in the home environment or a significant change to working patterns.
“Given the current climate, we’re seeing more and more businesses looking to extend their home working polices as they recognise that this might not just be a short-term shift in the UK’s ways of working. We’re working hard to support people as they establish new, more efficient and more productive systems to establish a work-life balance fit for the future, whatever that might hold.”