The 'shoffice' is the new home working trend in UK gardens – here's how to create one

·4-min read
Photo credit: Green Retreats | Diana Cotovan
Photo credit: Green Retreats | Diana Cotovan

Your ultimate guide to creating a 'shoffice' at home – the new trend of transforming your garden shed into an office. Here, we look at sheds, products, accessories and the all-important tech...

After more than a year of working from home, many of us have failed to find a satisfactory workspace, confined to sharing a kitchen table with a partner, or holed up in a spare bedroom.

With flexible working arrangements set to be embraced in the future, more and more of us are looking outside of the home for a permanent and peaceful solution to our workspace conundrum. Enter the office in a shed, or shoffice, for short.

What is a shoffice?

Cast off visions of humble tool stores, and picture instead a comfortable, Wi-Fi-connected sanctuary that reduces your commute to a few yards. The shoffice comes in many shapes and sizes, from compact wooden summerhouses that you can order online, to bespoke garden rooms costing in their tens of thousands.

Photo credit: Country Living | Homebase
Photo credit: Country Living | Homebase

The Country Living range of affordable, sustainably-made outdoor buildings with Homebase are a quick and easy option for those who don't fancy any protracted planning or construction. Totally hassle-free, arriving with a team of fitters to install and finish, they will have you at your desk in no time. Prices start at £1,280.

John Lewis also has a collection of contemporary garden studios from £9,999 with a striking architectural quality, made from FSC-certified Scandinavian redwood, and floor-to-ceiling glass panels to let sunlight flood in. Meanwhile, specialists such as Green Retreats create fully bespoke garden rooms, starting at just over £15,000.

Whatever your budget or size restrictions, the shoffice can provide a happy medium, without the distractions of home life or the inconveniences of travelling to the office.

And that's not the only benefit: A recent study by MyToolShed found that a garden office can add as much as £12,000 to the value of your home.

Important to note!

Whilst a small summerhouse in your garden is a fuss-free addition, large studios and bespoke structures might require planning permission. The majority of garden offices would fall under what is known as permitted development, but it's always worth checking before investing. Check too that your home insurance policy will cover any expensive equipment left in external buildings.

6 things every shoffice needs

1. Soft furnishings

It may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you consider an office, or a shed for that matter, but comfort is crucial anywhere you spend eight hours a day. Consider a wool throw for an extra layer of warmth, or soft cushions to transform a desk chair.

2. An ideas chair

A quiet spot for rumination or inspiration. Adding a feature chair – even if it’s just a few feet from your desk – provides a comfortable spot away from your laptop and emails. Place it next to a window so you can enjoy the calming view of your garden while you're at it.

3. Inspiring pattern

This is an opportunity to design the kind of office you’ve always wanted to work from, so get creative. Bring the outdoors in with nature-inspired wallpaper, fix art to the walls (without nails,) or use a patterned pinboard as an attractive way to organise notes.

4. Clever storage solutions

Space may well be tight, especially if you're in a small, urban garden. Clever, multifunctional storage solutions can keep your desk free and your shoffice tidy.

5. A smart desk

The centrepiece of any shoffice. Again, where space is of a premium, choose a well proportioned desk that works hard.

6. Cordless gadgets

Connecting your shoffice to your home’s electricity supply is a job for an electrician, but if it’s not feasible, there are plenty of clever solutions to cover you. A small Wi-Fi booster can amplify your signal, portable power banks can charge your phone and laptop, and there are plenty of stylish portable lamps for darker evenings.

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