How to turn your shed into the ideal office
The Utopian vision of working from home, relaxed by birdsong and the flutter of butterfly wings, totally immersed in nature yet still producing results even the most ferocious of employers would reward is achievable – if you’ve got somewhere to work. That’s where your shed comes in.
Adapting an existing shed to become a fully functioning workspace is relatively easy. First up you have to have a shed that is capable of taking the few adjustments. Be honest – if one side of your shed looks like Edam cheese thanks to the exertions of the local mouse population, and rotten flooring collapses underfoot, then it will take some money to put right. It may even be better to scrap the whole lot and buy something ready made. Only you know the state of your shed.
Before converting or tinkering with anything, check with your local council planning office you are allowed to convert a shed into a workspace. It may be classified as a permanent structure or change of use – it may not – but no one wants to flout rules and make costly mistakes. It will only take a quick phone call to put your mind at rest. Then once everything is OK, it can be full steam ahead. Assuming all is sound and structurally you can’t actually see the sky through the roof panels and the windows don’t rattle, you can get cracking.
You will need power in the shed / office-in-waiting and its best to get a qualified electrician to do the job for you. It’s a big job for DIY-ers and will cost a few quid but knowing that everything is legal and safe has to be worth the spend. WIFI is a must and if your shed is out of the normal range of your signal it is easy enough to arrange boosters to ensure buffering won’t stop you working.
With your shed sound, powered and connected you have to make it comfortable. And that starts with insulation. Cold toes are not conducive to good work. It’s a fact! Easy to cut insulation panels can quickly turn a cold space into a cosy one. It’s also good for the energy bill whether it’s an electrically powered heater or wood-burning stove. Windows can be changed to ensure a snug fit, or simply use one of the many insulation tapes and foams to stop draughts. Same thing goes for the door. Of course, converting a shed to an office in autumn, winter and spring concentrates your thoughts on staying warm. In summer you may well be sitting in a sauna. Ventilation and shade are vital to keeping your office cool. Blinds will help (and look great) as will ensuring all windows open without any problems.
Furnishing is vital to creating a successful garden based office. Benches can be bought in ready made (check that anything you do buy will fit through the door – obvious but often shed doors are narrower than ones in houses) or even consider making one yourself. And get a comfy, ergonomically designed chair. A few personal touches will make the office a place you will want to work from. And that’s it….or almost.
Chances are your garden office is now worth a few quid, especially when you add up the value of your PC, the office equipment such as a printer, that WIFI booster or router, and all the other paraphernalia essential to great garden working ( coffee maker?) Security is a must and quality locks have to be top of your list. Security lighting is a necessity and even if you don’t have power running to your office, solar powered versions do a great job. All types have motion sensors available. But even with lighting and locks, you will need an alarm. Not to wake you up from your mid-afternoon creative snooze , but to let everyone know that your office is under threat from burglars. Remember to check your house insurance documents to any fiddly small print details that may exempt the contents of your shed from any potential insurance claims – it’s time well spent.
Get it all right and your shed, yes, that one languishing in your garden right now, can be a workspace paradise.