Is the garden home office the future of working from home?
With working from home now a very real and possibly a long-term reality, we look at the garden home office as a way to give you a little bit more space.
Is your kitchen table currently encumbered with piles of work stuff, homework, plates of toast crusts and wine glass remnants from last night’s dinner? Or are you lucky enough to have a spare room that you’re now intimately acquainted with?
Working from home has certainly been an adjustment, and while it has long been considered the “future” of working, thanks to the pandemic the future is here. Necessity is the mother of invention after all.
Even before COVID-19, flexibility had become a more popular request in job descriptions and a 2019 government survey found that almost half (48.5%) of all 3,500 participants worked remotely in some capacity, whether full-time or for a day or two a week. Many of Dublin’s big tech companies like Facebook, Google and Indeed are all now looking at working from home indefinitely, so it’s not something that will disappear with the arrival of a vaccine.
Now that the future is here, we need to figure out a way to make it work, well, now. Most homes are overflowing as they are with kids unable to attend after-school activities or visit friends, and adults doing all they can not to pull their own (or anyone else’s) hair out.
Working at the kitchen table is just not a long-term solution. Having a work-life balance is never more important than right now when they’re squashed up against each other like sardines. It is just not conducive to a good working or relaxing environment to be able to see your desk from your sofa or bed and vice versa.
Many people have been looking into the garden. A working-from-home pod is a short commute that is sufficiently far away from the bustle and comfort of a home but not so far that you can’t nip across for a coffee. Think garden shed but with insulation, lights and plug sockets.
So how much are they, how much room do they require, and do they need planning?
Different local authorities have different rules but most don’t require planning permission for a free-standing structure under 25 square metres. However, there can be stipulations around this so best to check in with them first.
From Borien studio in Wicklow run by Robin Grundy and Eoin Murphy comes this clever little pod that is perfect for even the smallest of outdoor spaces. At just 2.25 square metres, Robin explains that the idea for it came after chatting with friends who were “trying to make due in the city centre with a two-up, two-down layout and zero room for a home office.”
The WFH Pocket is completely customisable and can include a standing or sitting desk, shelf and window box. It arrives fully built and ready to plug in and because of its size it doesn’t need a concrete base or planning permission.
Starting from €4,500
Renowned Dublin events and production company Movement have put their graphic design team and state-of-the–art manufacturing workshop to good use over the last few months, creating these garden pods that can be adapted has living spaces, gyms, playrooms or as a picturesque and peaceful home office.
Their standard pods are 7.5 square metres or 9 square metres but can be custom designed. Insulated with Rockwool and fitted with a timber floor with plywood covering, stud walls and exterior cedar sheeting, PVC windows and doors as well as all electrics including lights, sockets and mini fuse board, it can be delivered in under a month. It doesn’t require a concrete base or planning permission either.
Starting from €9,990
This company was around long before the pandemic, with 16 years’ experience at creating sheltered garden nooks for any purpose. They focus on two main ranges, the Cube and the Ultimate collections.
Featured above is the smaller of the two, the Cube which starts at 14.4 square metres. Double-glazed aluminium windows and doors with Earthwool and Foilback insulation will keep it toasty all year round. A laminated timber floor, plastered walls and roof with a thirty-year guarantee complete the structure, while inside there are also sockets, LED lighting, a smoke alarm and heater.
Starting from €23,460