A Log Cabin: The Answer to Working From Home During the Coronavirus
The Coronavrius and Working from Home
Large companies such as Twitter and Google are leading the way in the move to more employees working from home to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The Telegraph recently published an article called "Working from home could be the new normal as coronavirus spreads" signalling a large shift in how we work, even if only temporarily.
With the BBC suggesting that a fifth of the workforce could be off sick with the virus, it makes sense that companies and employees are taking steps to avoid spreading the virus around offices.
Even if not infected, more employees may need to self-isolate; we need to assess the best way to meet the needs of an increased workforce working from home.
Preparing to Work from Home
If you are temporarily working from home, you need to take various practical steps.
Make sure any passwords, web bookmarks and reference documents you keep on your desktop are saved to your cloud. Assess what software you will need on your home laptop or PC and what security you will need to have in place.
Create a dedicated work space. Ideally, this will be a distraction free area that you can walk away from at the end of the day. Of course, at Buy Sheds Direct, we think a log cabin would be the best home office for achieving high productivity with a healthy work/life balance.
Consider how you will communicate with your team or teams. Many companies use a dedicated messenger service such as Slack and work cooperatively on Google Docs and other work sharing platforms. Video conferencing may be an option if you have the equipment. It is important that there is daily communication about priorities and each individual's tasks for the day to keep the whole team in the loop and motivated.
Looking to Work from Home Permanently?
We've been supporters of the working from home movement long before the coronavirus came on the scene. So, when we think about working from home, we look at long term solutions.
Indeed, many staff who self-isolate or have a temporary move to working from home may request to make it a more permament situation. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has collected data showing that the number of UK workers who have switched to remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade with over 4 million people working from home in 2019. Predictions last year were that half the work force would be working from home in 2020 - a figure that may well increase with the onset of COVID-19.
The Benefits of Working from Home
No more rush hour traffic jams, extortionate business rates or hastily-prepared packed lunches; instead, you’ll be in full control of your job from the convenience and comfort of your own home.
You'll have no office politics to worry about; no battle over whether the office is too hot or too cold; and you won't have to make 6 cups of tea when it's your turn for the tea round.
What’s more, without the journeys to and fro, you’ll have an extra hour or two to spare each day and more money in your pocket.
An article by Yahoo Finance cites a PGi survey which reveals that 83% of remote workers feel less stressed
Plus, if you have a furry friend, you'll both benefit from the calming company.
The Benefits of Working from a Garden Office
One of the difficulties of working from home is separating home and work life. If your desk is permanently ensconsced in the living room or your papers are contiually spread over the kitchen table, it can be hard to switch off.
Creating a garden office helps set the boundaries between home and work. You avoid the distractions of day time telly, parcel deliveries and children eager to 'help' mummy or daddy with their paperwork.
You can still make your garden office an environment you are comfortable in, with your favourite pictures, the radio playing if you wish and you can even wear your slippers!
Decision made. What next?
We're here to help.
When setting up a home office, as is so often the case in life, the first step is the most difficult one.
Where should you begin? What will you need to buy? Which option should you choose?
Don’t worry, Buy Sheds Direct is here to help.
As we specialise in garden buildings and all associated products, we can show you the best way to achieve your garden office dream.
Choosing the Right Garden Building
Which garden building is best for a garden office? A shed, a summer house or a log cabin?
Sheds as Garden Offices
A shed is designed to provide storage for garden equipment and tools - items that don't mind the cold and slightly damp air. They tend to only have 12mm thick cladding which doesn't provide the year round insulation we would want.
However, if you are opt for a tongue and groove shed - which is the most watertight, weather resilient construction for a shed - and are happy to add insulation or a heater, you may be happy in a shed office.
Summer Houses as Garden Offices
A summerhouse, such as the Forest Oakley 8x8 Corner Summerhouse pictured here, will certainly be easier on the eye as it is designed to be an attractive shelter in the garden. However, the majority of summer houses also have 12mm cladding so will need the same sort of extras as a shed to make it a more comfortable room.
This can be a particularly good option for parents who just work from home during the summer school holidays.
Some summer houses, such as the Harvington, do offer an internal cladding option which will be a step towards creating a better insulated summerhouse.
Log Cabins as Garden Offices
The best garden building to transform into a garden office is a log cabin. Designed to be both aesthetically appealing and more insulated, a log cabin lends itself much better to office conversion than a shed or summerhouse. Log cabins come in a wide range of styles to suit every taste and garden. However, cladding or wall thickness is still an important consideration.
Log Cabin Wall Thickness Explained
Whereas a shed or summerhouse will be measured by cladding thickness, log cabins tend to have a more log like construction so we just refer to wall thickness. This can range from 28mm to 70mm.
Generally speaking, a garden building with 44mm-thick cladding is suitable to use as a home office throughout the year. Obviously, the thicker the walls, the better insulated the home office will be.
Choosing the Right Size Log Cabin
Your garden space will be the greatest determiner of what size log cabin you can accommodate. Next will be your budget: log cabins range from around £700 to around £13,500
You will also need to consider your type of business. If you just need a space away from a distracting household to work on your PC, you may just need space for a chair, desk and printer. If you need lots of file storage, you may also need space for shelves and filing cabinets.
For those who want to see clients or will want to meet with colleagues, space for a table and chairs may be required.
If you're going to want an area for making drinks, a small television or a refrigerator, plan for these too.
A smaller garden office
A medium garden office
If you need a little bit more space, the Windsor Woburn 5x3m Log Cabin is a charming, budget friendly choice that still boasts 44mm thick walls and even has double glazing to enhance insulation even further.
Plus, its veranda and overhang are both attractive and practical - protecting the front of the log cabin and providing extra space to enjoy a coffee on that mid-morning break.
A larger garden office
A grand example of a large log cabin is the Forest Garden Blakedown 6x4m.
This spacious log cabin has an abundance of glazing that will provide plenty of light to work by. The turn and tilt mechanism of the windows adds that extra modern touch.
With 21m2 of space, you'll have more than enough room for your office furniture and more.
Big on budget, size and flexibility
A log cabin that boasts both size and ultimate 70mm wall thickness, the Palmako Anna 7.8m x 4.8m Log Cabin is an impressive building.
Built from prime Nordic spruce, double glazed, and with the option to purchase a number of premium roof covers, this garden building makes a wonderful home office.
The interior walls and ample space which make this a multi-purpose garden cabin are just two of the reasons why the Palmako Anna such a luxurious choice.
Garden Building Parking
Perhaps this isn’t the first thing you think about when planning a garden office but, whether you want your car on hand for business trips or would like a sheltered parking space for visiting clients, it’s reassuring to know the facility is there.
Although the cladding isn’t quite as thick as we’d usually recommend for year-round usage, a portable gas heater should still provide a
What's Your Style?
Adding Power to Your Garden Office
If you are investing in a garden office, you may want to put aside some of your budget for an electrician. A qualified electrician will be able to run an armored cable (this protects it from animals, lawnmowers etc) through your garden - usually underground - to your log cabin.
You will then have an easy supply of electricity for computers, lights, printers, kettles etc.
However, if you want to save money you can opt for solar power. With technological advances, it is more reliable than ever - even in unreliable British weather.
Simple to install into your log cabin, without the need for an electrician, these power stations and solar hubs will provide your garden office with an independent, reliable and FREE source of electricity.
Don't forget your wifi.
Plug-in wifi boosters will ensure your internet connection reaches your log cabin. As your mobile phone will be your office phone and you'll want your PC or laptop to access the internet, it is important to get your wifi connection right.
Adding Light to Your Log Cabin
If you are opting for solar power, you may have chosen a combined solar power lighting hub. These come with a whole choice of lighting options: strip lights, pendant lights, floor lamps and table lamps.
Take the Solartech Premium Garden Building Solar LIghting Kit 7 for example. It includes 2 floor lamps and a pendant ceiling light.
Again, by utilising solar energy, it offers you up to 5 hours of free lighting per day. Plus 2 USB ports allow you to charge mobile phones and other devices while a 12v adaptor can run small appliances.
Easy to install with no specialist skills, this high-end solar lighting kit comes with a 10-year warranty on the panel and a 2-year warranty on the hub.
Heating for Garden Home Office
When you leave the rat race behind, you’re only forgoing its negative aspects.
There’s no need to sacrifice the little pleasures of the office too.
If connecting to mains electricity, you can use an electric heater.
If not a portable gas heater allows you to heat your garden office, so you can enjoy a comfortable temperature the whole year round.
The Lifestyle Seasons Warmth Red Portable Gas Cabinet Heater fits the bill perfectly.
With a maximum heat output of 4.2KW, this CE-approved portable heater features Piezo ignition, 3 separate heat settings and a number of intelligent safety features.
Whichever heating your choose, make sure it is suitable for the space and that you follow all health and safety advice provided with the product.
Furnishing a Home Office
If you are relocating your home office from the house, chances are you can move your computer equipment and furniture straight from its previous location, with minimal fuss.
One consideration is flooring. Compared to OSB or sheet flooring which can sag, a tongue and groove floor will provide greater strength to support furniture and years of footfall. Look for pressure treated floor bearers too as these add further stability and keep the floor away from the damp surface below.
It is worth mentioning here that all log cabins should be constructed on a solid, level base such as concrete. If you are planning to erect your garden office on an area that is currently grassed, this will need to be prepared; you can lay concrete or you can opt for a Plastic Log Cabin Base Kit which is a grid system garden building base that, once the grass area is levelled, is laid out then covered in pea shingle - a quicker and less messy process than poured concrete.
Insurance and Planning Permission for Garden Buildings
Insuring Garden Buildings
Think about the type of work you do and the risks you need to cover.
Will you have visitors to your home office? If so, you may want to consider taking out public liability insurance. Although not compulsory, it will protect you from any claims made by people who suffer an accident while visiting your business premises.
Overall, the best place to start is your own home insurance company, who will talk you through the options available to you.
Depending on the levels of cover that they offer, you may wish to speak to a specialist business insurer too.
When you buy a standard garden shed or summer house for recreational use, you do not need to apply for planning permission.
However, if said garden building is above 2.5m in height, particularly when in close proximity to your garden boundary, you may require planning permission.
With regards to garden offices, our advice on this matter is simple: if you’re intending to use a garden building as your place of work, regardless of its height or location, it’s important to do things correctly.
Therefore, in all circumstances, you should contact your local council’s planning department to check their rules and requirements.
Try this planning portal for starters.