As I write this, millions of Brits are still working from home, and, for those who have returned to the office, national lockdowns have forced a rethink.
Creating a comfortable space to work at home is easy - in the short term, but as time goes on it can become increasingly difficult.
So, the ‘Shoffice’ has been a rising phenomenon in these #WFH (work from home) times, a portmanteau of the words shed and office, the ‘Brangelina’ of the WFH world!
Maintaining Your WFH Space As A WFH Space
The originally intended purposes for most make-shift work spaces soon start to reclaim the territory you took - the kitchen table is still needed to feed your family in the evening, the living room sofa is the best seat in the house for a Netflix binge, and surely the reason you have a shed is to store all the stuff you don’t want in the house: the lawnmower; the bikes; and of course that bag of cement that’s gone hard!
And that can be the problem with most sheds / summerhouses. No matter how well-intentioned you start out, this kind of outdoor building will attract the kind of things that you don’t want to store indoors!
John from Nottingham came to look at Cabin Master garden offices recently. His work from home experience had been a nomadic one. He’d started off on a table in the conservatory but had soon been evicted from there as the schools closed and it became an emergency classroom. He then moved onto an under-stairs cupboard that was big enough to house a small desk (I feel a Harry Potter Meme coming on!) , but this caused friction as the coats and shoes from the cupboard soon littered the hallway.
Finally, John cleared his shed, ran a cable from an outdoor socket to power it and fully moved out - only to come home one day to find a bike leaning against his desk. On another day, he’d popped indoors for a call of nature but in the minutes that this took a delivery driver had left a card in the letter box saying that he’d tried to deliver a parcel which could be found ‘in the shed’!
Shedding Your Shed's Original Purpose – A Hard Habit To Break
Outdoor buildings are traditionally associated with storage. It is quite a hard habit to break, ask anyone whose summer house, intended as a year-round sanctuary and oasis of peace and quiet, quickly became a winter store for deck chairs and other garden furniture.
Many DIY ‘Shoffice’ projects stray this way too. For a ‘Shoffice’ space to work, the whole family and everyone coming to the house (even delivery drivers) have to accept that it is a workspace and not a storeroom. You wouldn’t expect to find your other half’s bike propped up against your desk at the office - so why should it be ok in your work from home space shed?
“Because that’s where the bikes live,” explained John’s wife Tasha, who has also been working from home but the space she needs is limited to “wherever I can set up my MacBook”.
John and Tasha told us that working from home had caused some heated debate about the use of space around the home and garden. “John needs a dedicated space; he has papers and files that he needs to spread out. Problem is that as a family of four we also need space for storing all the things that a family of four collects over the years, the bikes, the wellies, different coats for different seasons. Converting the shed into an office was a good idea but we need a shed and an office. For us it isn’t a case of ‘either/or’ – we need both!”
At our Cabin Master Village, an extensive garden room show-site, the solution to John and Tasha’s problem is built, dressed and ready for you to walk into. John literally let out a squeal of delight as he discovered there was a way to have a shed and an office – an actual ‘shoffice’ – two solutions for the price of one! A fully insulated bespoke garden room designed to be used all year round.
Internal And External Access
Unlike some garden rooms on the market, a Cabin Master garden room can be partitioned, so you can have an area as a Work From Home space, a fully functioning garden office, and a separate area as a traditional storage space – a proper shed!
What’s more, Cabin Master rooms can be fitted with internal and external access. You can have an outside door to your office and one to your storage room and an internal door between the two if needs be. So, you can work undisturbed as the kids take out their bikes. You access your office through one external door and everything shed-related goes through another – as max put it “the tradesman’s entrance”.
It’s such a simple solution. You have two secure, lockable, weather-proof rooms, separated by a sturdy partition wall and everyone is happy.
They are proving especially popular among the self-employed, and not only for those wanting to have their cake and eat it when it comes to owning a shed and an office.
Office And Stock Warehouse In Your Garden
Ed is a self-employed plumber. Together with wife Scarlett they run the family business. While Ed is out in the van, Scarlett is back at base fielding the telephone calls and doing the books - or as she says “actually running the business!”
All of Scarlett’s side of things used to take place either at home or from a portacabin on an industrial estate, but two things during lockdown made Ed and Scarlett rethink.
“The portacabin was always cold and draughty during the winter months so from, maybe November to April, I’d spend less time there and more time working at home,” Scarlett told us. “When the schools shut down back in March 2020 it was harder to juggle everything at home but getting to the portacabin became almost impossible. The yard owners imposed strict access rules because of social distancing, and I had the kids at home. There are two filing cabinets full of lever arch files at the lock-up that I need to access so I’d be ringing Ed and asking him to drop by between jobs and bring paperwork home. Lockdown or no lockdown, as a plumber, if a landlord calls to tell you that there’s a leak in one of the properties you maintain - you have to attend. It was a stressful time for us all.”
The double access solution has been a “Godsend” according to Ed. “I don’t carry a lot of stock as a plumber you rely heavily on the wholesalers and plumber’s merchants – you drop by and pick up materials that a job needs – usually on the day you fit it – it helps with cash flow. Getting into the merchants became tricky for a time and I thought that I needed a more accessible solution.”
“Scarlett has a heated garden office, I’m not allowed in there in my overalls, she’s quite ‘house-proud’ and protective about it, I have to take off my boots,” Ed laughs.
“Fortunately, I don’t have to go in there because I have my own lock up right next door, I can carry a stock of the basics, like U bends, pipes, elbows and the like. Added bonus, I now have a safe place to keep my tools instead of in the van overnight. For the first time the sign on the back of the van that says “No Tools Left In This Vehicle Overnight” isn’t a lie!” laughs Ed again.
Scarlett adds, “I can work from home. While the schools are closed, there’s space for the kids in my office, the filing cabinets are all here now, we’re saving money on the portacabin and the industrial estate plus Ed and I can come and go as we please. If I need a file at nine o’clock at night, it’s no bother ..but most of all – it’s toasty warm.”
You don’t have to be a plumber to appreciate the benefit of an office and separate store. You could be an artist with a studio and a backroom for your paints or a candle maker with a store for your wax, having external and internal access is helping many self-employed bring their whole operation home.
The Rise Of The Shoffice Has Led To Stock Issues But Not With Cabin Master
Shed offices have seen a boom in popularity over the lockdown period, trend data from Google shows a sharp increase in searches for shed offices and many websites have sold out – largely because many sellers ship their units from abroad.
We won’t sell out! Our specialist in-house teams make Cabin Master garden rooms, garden offices and twin access ‘shoffices’ to order. They are custom built here in the UK, at our own purpose-built factories. Each Cabin Master Garden Room is made from scratch, taking into consideration each client's unique requirements.
Cabin Master garden rooms are unlikely to need planning permission, it will certainly add value to your home, and with finance options from Hitachi, owing yours has never been easier. A step up from a draughty old portacabin or your kitchen table.
Look And Feel Professional And Ready To Do BUSINESS
You put your heart and soul into your business, your business dream deserves the greatest possible environment to thrive. Furthermore, the image you portray to a visiting potential client could be the difference between getting their custom or them going elsewhere.
When you visit our Cabin Master Village, just off junction 25 of the M1, and just ten miles out of Nottingham on the A52, you’ll experience the wow factor for yourself. We’re next to the Toton Lane NET Nottingham tram terminus and park and ride, if you prefer to come by tram, or call us now on 0115 932 8888.