With working from home becoming more common, finding a space away from the hustle and bustle of family life can be a challenge
That’s where garden offices come in
If you’re fortunate enough to have sufficient outside space, that can be the ideal solution to your home working needs.
The pandemic changed the way we work in many ways but homeworking is one of the more fundamental. More employers than ever have embraced working from home and the benefits it brings and many will continue to allow home working going forward.
With that in mind, we have put together a quick guide to setting up your own home office with actionable advice and things to consider before you spend too much money!
Choosing your garden office
The type of building you use for your garden office depends on the space you have available, your budget and how often you’ll be using it.
Some homeworkers have converted sheds or garages into garden offices. Others have bought prefabricated buildings complete with all connections and have them craned in.
Whichever end of the scale you’re on, make sure you have sufficient space to do your work, some kind of view or source of natural light and decent insulation for colder months.
Positioning your garden office
If you have the luxury of space, positioning is key. Getting this right before you do anything else can make all the difference to your project.
You may not always have a choice if you’re converting an existing space but if you’re starting from scratch, consider the following:
- You’ll want as much natural light as possible. You’re much better off having to block out light than seek it out!
- If you can place your garden office with fast access to the house, all the better. You’ll need to plan for working in winter and when you need the bathroom or fresh coffee.
- Finally, consider the view. You’ll spend the majority of your time on the phone or staring at your computer, but it would be nice to be able to rest your eyes on a raised bed or pond, wouldn’t it?
Setting up utilities
You’re going to need to install utilities in your garden office if it is to function properly.
That means running an armoured electric cable from the house to the office and installing sockets within the office. If you’re having this installed, it is highly advisable to have an Ethernet network cable installed at the same time as this will make it much easier to set up broadband and is more stable and better performing that a Wi-Fi connection.
This is especially true if you plan to do some gaming in your new office, you know, on your lunch break..
This is a task best tackled by a professional. If you have the skills it can be a DIY job, but you may need the work signed off by an electrician for insurance and compliance purposes.
Heating should also be a priority. Depending on the building, you’re going to need some form of heating for your office to be viable in winter. Consider a green roof, sheep’s wool insulation, insulating the floor and adding a wood burning stove for good measure.
Depending on the office, running water and grey water may also be a consideration. We would recommend working with a plumber or builder for those!
Connecting your garden office
If you were able to run a network cable along with the electricity to your garden office, you should have no issues connecting to broadband. The hardwired connection will provide a fast and stable internet link, and you can easily add Wi-Fi by installing a Wi-Fi access point on the other end (you can repurpose an old Wi-Fi router as an access point so no additional expenditure is required).
If you weren’t able to run cable, you still have options.
If you’re not able to connect using cable, you can use Wi-Fi. If your home Wi-Fi is strong enough it may reach your garden office without any additional equipment, so check first using your phone or a laptop.
If the signal doesn’t reach the garden, consider using a signal booster installed as close to your garden office as possible. This will boost your home’s WiFi signal enough to hopefully reach the office. You can also purchase external Wi-Fi boosters with directional antennas, but these will cost more and it will involve some drilling and wiring to get them installed.
If cabling or WiFi won’t work, you could use powerline adapters. These use your home’s electricity grid to provide a network connection.
Connect one end to your broadband router and the other in your garden office. Connect each end to your computer and router and you should have a usable broadband connection!
For the three previous options, it’s worth thinking if your current speed is sufficient for working from home. If there are multiple users on the connection or if your work requires regular large file downloads or uploads, a fibre connection would be best. Click here to compare fibre deals.
Otherwise, consider mobile broadband. Mobile WiFi plans start from around £20 per month and a 4G or 5G connection can deliver credible performance.
You’ll need decent signal strength to achieve a reliable connection though. We would suggest checking 4G/5G coverage in your area before committing to a provider. Also, make sure your contract doesn’t include data caps, or that they are high enough that you won’t be hit with additional charges. For more information about mobile broadband, read Broadband Genie’s guide.
Setting up a garden office is a great project that can have far-reaching benefits to family life. Less time commuting, more time with the family and lower transport costs overall.
Plus, if you have a nice enough garden, you could create your own oasis of calm to help you through the day!