26th January 2021

The Rise of the Garden Office

There’s little doubt that 2020 has changed our relationship with work and the office. Back in April, at the height of the first lock-down over half of the UK population was suddenly working from home to curb the spread of the virus.

A functional homeworking space has rapidly become more of a necessity as opposed to a luxury as an increasing number of us are now working either wholly – or at least on a part time basis – from home. As this new trend continues to be the new normal for many of us, we have seen certain property features become more popular than ever. Rightmove have noted a 326% annual jump in the use of terms ’office’, ‘workspace’ and ‘working from home’ in property listings compared to the same period last year. As well as a jump of 90% in the number of buyers and renters searching for an outbuilding and a jump of 89% for ‘annexe’ searches.

The convergence of working and living space is consequently forcing us all to reconsider the function and design of our homes. Creating the perfect “home-working environment” that does not hamper productivity is not always as easy as it sounds. Without a soundproof or private office space, participation in Zoom conferences can be a tricky exercise in terms of managing background noise, unflattering lighting or backgrounds not to mention family or canine interruptions!

Fast forward to today and an increasing number of us are still sat on kitchen tables or crammed into spare bedrooms on back-to-back Zoom calls therefore it is no surprise that purpose built ‘Garden offices’ are high on the list of priorities for more and more homeowners. Whilst re-configuring an interior space, embarking on a loft conversion, or adding an extension are all viable options the answer could be staring at you through the bi-fold doors and come at a fraction of the price!

Garden offices have come a long way since the early 2000’s when forward thinking employers understood a ‘work – life’ balance and technology made it possible. Basic sheds have been reimagined into sleek, modern spaces multifunctional spaces equipped with high-speed broadband, anti-glare glass, modern office furniture and Nespresso machines.

More importantly, garden offices create that vital ‘separation’ from home and work life. The good news is that there are plenty of different ways in which to achieve a garden office, with options to suit all garden sizes and a variety of budgets too. 

Do I need Planning Permission for a Garden Office?

In most cases the answer will be no, although there will be exceptions to the rule. Very often, garden offices fall within permitted development. Unless you are in a designated area, such as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or Conservation Area, or live in a Listed Building, your garden office may not require planning permission providing: The building is single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5m and a maximum overall height of 4m for a dual pitched roof or 3m for any other roof. It is always important to fully research all aspects before embarking on the project.

Will a Garden Office add value to my home?

The simple answer is yes. Whilst their value may not compare to a house extension, garden offices do not require planning permission, are quick to build and can double up as a spare room or fitness space. You could expect to add 5% value depending on the size or quality.

As we hopefully see life slowly return to normal, homeworking for many will be here to stay.   The team at Spencers are on hand to offer honest advice, whether you are making that leap from city to forest or looking for a new home that provides that perfect flexible work solution.