A garden shed-office is a pleasant and relaxing way to work from home: perfect in terms of peace, taking yourself away from the family environment, yet with no travelling or office costs.
Setting up a garden shed-office for one or two people, including the building will cost you between $1000 and $2000, depending on what facilities you include.
Why You Should Set Up A Garden shed-office Instead of Renting an Office
In terms of cost, compared to renting an office it wins hands down. If you run a small business from home you need to keep an office and a garden shed-office costs less per year than a rented office does per week, yet you have all the same advantages.
Even if you run a business that is large enough to employ others you can buy large garden shed-offices that include washrooms and other necessary facilities for a tiny fraction of the cost of renting, or of building a conventional extension.
Your garden office also removes any commuting time and costs. Walk to work in twenty seconds, instead of a forty minute drive at both ends of the working day.
Why a Garden shed-office Is Better Than a Spare Room Office
If you have an office in the house you are subject to all the family noise, from vacuum cleaners to children crying and teenagers squabbling. Moving into a garden office removes you physically from your nearest and dearest and is much more conducive to work and creative thinking, especially, than a spare room office in the house is.
You will have fewer interruptions because you are more obviously 'At work' than if you are sitting at a desk in a room off the hallway.
What Kind of Garden shed-offices Are Available?
You can have a garden office in any material you care to name. Traditional timber buildings are popular and generally have the lowest cost, but attractively designed aluminium, steel and PVC buildings are all widely available. These non-timber buildings will have a longer life and lower maintenance costs, which offset their initially higher purchase prices.
You can find garden office buildings with floor to ceiling windows, porches and front and back doors. There are many companies that will design a garden office to suit your exact requirements, so if you need wheelchair access or extra high or low electric outlets all of these needs can be accommodated.
The inside of your garden shed-office will usually be plasterboard and indistinguishable from a conventional office.
Does My Garden shed-office Need Planning Permission?
Planning regulations will depend on where you live and you really need to check locally, but usually timber garden buildings need no planning permission. Rules on other materials depend on the proposed size and whether it has washroom facilities.
Can I Put a Washroom in shed-office?
It is a good idea to fit a washroom if your building is large enough. If it is accessible from inside and outside the building then you will be able to use it when you are gardening, too. A washroom becomes essential if you have employees working in your garden shed-office.
Put a separate tap and kitchen sink in one corner of your office. It will save you going to the house for tea and coffee.
Can I Put Electric Power in office?
If you intend it as a serious office then electricity is going to be essential for lighting, computers and heating.
Install as many electric sockets as you would in a kitchen, at least eight and preferably sixteen to accommodate future equipment needs. Think about how many sockets you need for computer equipment; PC, monitor, scanner, laser printer, inkjet printer, speakers, USB hub, external hard drive, etc. It would be better to have enough sockets, close together that you had no need to use extension leads. You will also need sockets for radio, TV, telephone, cell phone charger, kettle, toaster, microwave, heaters and hair dryer.
The lighting you need will depend on how you propose to use your garden shed-office. If you are using computer monitors you will need different lighting than if you will be using the garden room as an artist's studio. Try to have one low running cost lighting option, even if you want high running cost spotlights as another lighting option.
What Size shed-office Do I Need?
Only you can answer that, but buy as large a one as your budget allows. 12ft x 12ft sounds large, until you take out a quarter of that space for a 6ft x 6 ft washroom and another 6ft length of wall for a kitchen area. The door and entry area remove another 6ft x 6ft area from your office working space. You are down to a garden office only 6ft wide by 6ft deep, barely large enough for one person to use comfortable, but too cramped for two people.
If you bought a12ft x 18ft garden building you would have a clear 12ft x 12ft space for desks, shelves and filing cabinets, even after you have allowed for washroom and kitchen areas.
Will my shed-office Be Warm Enough in Winter?
It will obviously need LOTS of insulation. Allow for 6 inches of insulation beween inner and outer walls and 12 inches on the roof. Fit double glazed windows and doors, especially if your office is to have a large area of glass. Electric convector heaters are the most common heating solution, but use wall mounted ones to reduce clutter.
Where Can I Find Furniture For My shed-office?
Office desks need to be strong and rigid enough to stand up to a lot of use. They usually have tops a lot thicker than desks aimed at the domestic market, so they are a lot more expensive.
Lots of companies go bust and sell their nearly brand new office furniture for knockdown prices. You can find $400 corner desks for $100 if you check out a local used office furniture store. The desk will be unmarked and you may be able to find four or five matching desks, along with shelves, chairs and filing cabinets for one quarter of the new price.