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Home Office vs Garden Office - Which is Best?

Choosing the Most Suitable “Work from Home” Option

With an estimated 1.5 million Brits working from home and growing, contributing over £160 billion into the UK economy, it’s clear that self-employed “work from home” professionals are well and truly the present and future backbone of the UK’s small business industry.

As more entrepreneurs decide to take their careers into their own hands, greater demands are being placed on the home to find a suitable space to run a business alongside everyday family life. Striking the right balance is never easy.

It’s common knowledge that many start-up businesses work from the spare bedroom during their fledgling days. It offers a risk free office solution that means a business has the chance to get off the mark with little or no overheads to be concerned with.

However, like any business that may grow and expand in time, this type of arrangement has a very short shelf life. Not only will you start to outgrow the small box room at the back of the house; work life starts to spill over into home life and that’s when troubles begin. Getting the right balance and separation between the two is a difficult balancing act and it is at this point that a difficult decision has to be made.

Do you seek an office elsewhere away from home, look to extend your home or even perhaps install a self-contained office space in the garden?

If working from home is a must, then there are clearly two choices – you either make extra room in the home or build an external office space. Which option is best? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both options.

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Build an Extension

Adding an extra room or two to your home is an attractive option on many levels but there are many pitfalls to consider.

On the plus side, it will almost certainly add significant value to your home and give you much needed extra space that can be used for your business and possibly more. You may be able to take advantage of the build by increasing the size of your kitchen, living room or adding an extra bedroom for example.

However, building work is never plain sailing. Apart from the obvious planning issues and expense of adding extra square footage, construction work is notoriously dusty and noisy, and for the unprepared, can place huge stresses on family life.

Anyone who has gone through any kind of construction process will tell you it is disruptive, expensive and rarely runs on time. If you’re running a business from home, this could place you in a very difficult position and may mean having to work off site until the work is completed, which in essence is the exact opposite of why you wanted the extra room in the first place!

With any construction project, there’s going to be ups and downs so if it’s imperative that you work in a place that is quiet with no distractions, building work might not be the wisest decision. You may need to think carefully about the ramifications before pressing ahead with such plans.

Even when the work is completed, your new room might be perfect for your needs but with it being a part of the existing building, does it offer the separation from home life that your work needs? All of these factors must be considered.

Advantages

  • adds value to your property
  • conveniently located
  • keeps overheads low
  • flexible working conditions


Disadvantages

  • expensive
  • requires planning consent
  • noisy, messy & disruptive
  • schedule can easily overrun
  • stressful


Self-Contained Office

If having a separate office space is your sole criteria, and you have the space to do so, installing a self-contained office room in your garden could be the ideal answer.

Unlike construction work, the process is far quicker, less disruptive and more economical. Nowadays, there are several ways to put a self-contained office space into your garden. Some people opt for timber framed offices, whilst others have built an outhouse using standard brick and block work construction or even disused storage containers. The possibilities are endless.

By opting for an exterior building such as a timber office or workshop, you instantly create separation from home life, which is what many self-employed workers crave. With just a short walk down the garden you turn the key and enter your workplace and once you lock up for the night, you can fully switch off and go home for the day.

The process of having one installed is far less hassle than an extension. For example, the foundation work is just a simple concrete slab and many buildings of this type are fabricated off site and are erected on-site. The construction timeline is literally hours, not days or weeks!

Of course, the addition of an outbuilding will also add value to your property, although not anywhere near as much as an extension. But when you consider the speed of which you can have an office in place and the difference in costs, the advantages become much clearer.

Advantages

  • adds value to your property
  • conveniently located
  • keeps overheads low
  • flexible working conditions
  • relatively low cost to install
  • no planning consent required
  • minimal hassle or stress involved
  • keeps work & home life separate


Disadvantages

  • cold if poorly insulated
  • requires electrical hook up
  • requires heating & insulation
  • takes up usable garden space


Which option is right for you?

Both options offer excellent solutions to a common problem. An extension could be seen as a home-based decision as longer term and it could increase the value of your home significantly, whilst a self-contained outbuilding could be deemed a better business decision as it offers a far quicker, more cost effective route to fulfilling your needs.

No one wants their work life to spill over into their home life and if this sounds like a problem you’re facing, a separate timber office or workshop would most certainty give you the freedom you need without blowing the budget.

But if making your home that little sweeter is more important, an extension might be your preferred option if you can deal with the expense, noise and stress of a construction project.

Ultimately, you have to decide which route offers you the quickest and most effective solution but if you need a new office building fast, an outbuilding in your garden has to be the answer.

Written by: Yolanda Noble

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