My home is my office! Should I convert, extend or take to the garden?
June 28, 2021
A dedicated office space within the home has become increasingly essential since the start of the pandemic and according to a recent YouGov survey, that’s unlikely to change. With 57% of British workers wanting to continue to work from their own four walls post pandemic, a few useful tips will come in handy because there’s a lot more to think about than simply picking a comfy chair.
Whether you run your own business from home, have the flexibility of working from home or your job tends to run into evenings and weekends, a dedicated space or room is essential for maintaining the boundaries between work and home life.
Cube can help you decide where your home office would be best situated in your existing property or create additional space with a loft conversion, extension or garden building.
Where to start?
The first step is to establish what you’ll need the space for.
Is it a space to answer calls and emails? Somewhere for your children to do their homework without any distraction? Or perhaps a room doubling as occasional home working space and guest bedroom? In any of these cases existing space can be used to establish multifunctional rooms. An existing landing or alcove also offer great and simple space solutions.
However, if you’ll be working from home on a more frequent basis, creating a dedicated home office is a must. Careful consideration should be given to the location within your home. Ideally, it should be out of sight and hearing range of the main domestic hubs, so a first floor room or a converted loft could be a great solution. If you’re likely to have clients or colleagues over, a lower floor room preferably with its own entrance, is more suitable. Cube can advice you on all the options and offer advice on design.
If you’re short of space indoors but have some outdoor space, a garden office might be another option for you. You could either convert or add to an existing building like a garage or have one built from scratch. Moving work to the garden will also help keep your work separate from your homelife. But there are a few things to watch out for:
- Ensure the garden office is well insulated for year-round use;
- Secure it, especially if you have computers or expensive kit stored within;
- Check it falls under Permitted Development guidelines (or apply for planning permission).
Everything in the right place
Once you have established where your home office will be, careful planning and design are key to making it a successful work space:
Firstly decide where to place your furniture, ensuring there’s an adequate number of power and internet LAN (wired internet) connections in the right positions for computers and equipment, which may mean that additional floor-mounted sockets need to be fitted. Where possible, consider placing the cabling points on a rear wall to avoid cluttering up your desk space.
In cities and built-up areas, the number of nearby wireless signals can cause interference, slowing down your broadband speed. Modern building materials can sometimes even prevent wireless signals altogether. Wireless connection has its place in the home, but wired LAN sockets are a must in your home office for a stable and reliable broadband connection.
Light just right
Lighting also plays a very important role in ensuring your home office is both practical and comfortable to work in. Poor lighting can depleat your energy levels, dampen your mood, lead to eyestrain and headaches, and could impair your ability to work effectively.
In general, it’s best to have natural light in front of or next to your work surfaces and computer screens to avoid glare and maximize your outside views.
You can accommodate varying levels of brightness during the day by using simple blinds or even a standing screen, which will do a nice job of diffusing sunlight shining through your windows.
If you’re spending a lot of time in your home office while other members of your household are out, you’ll need to pay attention to heating. So called ‘zoning’ allows you to control the temperature in particular rooms or areas of the house, as well as the entire system. This is often easier to achieve if you’re building a new house or renovating the whole house, and are planning to install a new heating system. If you can, opt for a central control with room thermostats so that you can decide which zones are heated when and at what temperature.
Let’s get started…
Our Design Consultant is here to guide and advice you on the most effective solutions for your home office.