The person who works from home has a dilemma. It’s one that most officeworkers would consider to be something of a luxury – but then most office workers haven’t experienced the odd conceptual shift that happens when you work out of your house.
The dilemma is as follows: it’s great to be able to work in your dressing gown, make tea and sandwiches when you want and have the radio on: but you can’t escape the fact that your home turns into a place of work. The work and life balance goes all skewed. The kitchen table, which might seem like a great place to be writing at, or designing a website on, suddenly looks less attractive when night comes around and you have to eat there to.
The bottom line, for a healthy work and life existence, is this: don’t work where you eat or sleep. Unfortunately, in most homes the atmosphere of the whole building is tied up with relaxation and domesticity, so the home worker can find that his or her concept of what constitutes a “life” place to be and a “work” place to be becomes inextricable interwoven.
There is productivity element to this dilemma as well. When a person has a defined office, a separate work space in which to be when he or she is working, it becomes easier to snap the head into the concentration and effort ode required to do the job properly.
This is what “going to work” is all about. There’s a reason for the action word in the phrase. Buy actively travelling to work, a person is able to set himself or herself up in the right mental zone; and to healthily separate where he or she east and sleeps from where he or she earns the money that puts that food on the table.
In a home with a garden, a novel solution arises. Garden buildings, which used to mean sheds and summer houses, are now adapted or purpose built to provide studio and office spaces. That’s a setup that uniquely combines everything best about both the working environment and the home environment. The home worker is able to do his or her job without having to commute (which costs money, as well as being incredibly stressful); and is also able to take breaks from the office by going into the house.
He or she can have everything he or she needs to work in the garden office, which means he or she no longer has to worry about losing things in the kitchen, and spending whole mornings trying to find them again before he or she can start work.
There are, of course, some design elements that must be considered when using garden buildings as office spaces. Security is a key one. A garden building is generally less secure than a house for the simple reason that it’s separate, and usually unoccupied at night. It is therefore theoretically possible for it to be burgled while the house sleeps, with no one the wiser until the morning when the home worker discovers that his or her Mac has vanished.
So locks and alarms are core components of the basic design of a garden office. Beyond that, the home worker can sit down and draw up a plan for a place whose storage and layout are developed bespoke.
Gemma Young is a freelance designer. She has been working out of garden buildings for three years.