Working From Home - Major Project

Teleworking is becoming an increasing popular alternative then commuting to work everyday. But modern build homes do not allow for a designated study space or office space. This leads to a desk in the corner of your living room or bed room which becomes an eye saw of all the wires and paper. I am looking at designing a office/ hobbie room which would be built in the customers garden. This would come under the regulations and requirements to allow it not to need building requirements.

But I ask. What would you want. A large flat desk, plenty of shelving or something which can be used as more then just a office. Any comments would be very helpful.

Jason

I’d like to not have a room in my garden :wink:

Seems like a spare bedroom is a better use of space.

I am going to have to agree with Yo. My home office is in a small extra bedroom with plenty of light. If I could ask for anything in my office it would be clutter control. It acts as an office for doing work (freelance, personal, and job work), home office for paying bills, bed for guests to sleep and toy room with two Mtn Bikes hanging on the wall. I try to keep as neat as I can but with living in a small place with little room, it can become quite hard.

J

I really like the idea of having an outbuilding on the property in which to work – it would help me with the idea of disconnecting from work at the end of the day. I often thought my dream office would be on the opposite shore of a lake from my home. I could row to and from work, but it would still be close enough I could be at home for lunch.

Here is what I would want in a garden-based office

  • Lots of glass. If I am in the garden, I want to be able to see flowers, birds, and bugs. Possibly have walls or large window/doors that open to allow the air in and good ideas to breathe. Kinda like Michelle Kaufmann’s buildings

  • A broad desk with a cup holder. I like to spread out my papers and I need a restraint for my water glass to prevent SDS (soggy desk syndrome – symptoms are wet papers and Incredible Hulk-like rage)
  • Bookshelves. My book collections ways several times more than I do and I like to work among my books
  • Space to meet with clients, should they stop by – perhaps a covered porch
  • shades and screens to deal with all of the sunshine coming through all the glass
  • Excellent ventilation
  • A nice comfortable chair in which to read through new books

Thank you for your posts.

The target market for this product would be families who do not have the space to spare in the home. This could be though having children or living in a newly built home in England.

Sprocket I can not agree with you more. The idea of a office in your garden would allow you to go to and from work within seconds in the morning. The cost of petrol, food and sleep you would save will be apparent within two weeks. I see natural light or a renewable source a key part to a garden office so in the long run it could pay for its self. The current products on the market are big and bulky and provide just a room. I aim to create the different feeling between the office and the home but without the commute to work.

SDS - Love it.

Seems like pretty limited market. How many people work from home, have a garden and are in temperate enough climates? Power?

R

Do you know about the OfficePod

http://officepod.co.uk/

Rkuchinsky reports and trends have show that there is an increasing amount of Teleworkers in England (thats what they are know as… )

Current market products that I have found seem to be ‘Budget’ offices for the garden. They are rectangular and a large door. I must admit the English weather is not ideal but final ideas could be slimmed down or bulked up depending on country.

holtag I have seen it and that was a source of my inspiration. Something small and compact which everything you need to work in. There are less distractions unlike sitting in your home.


If you had to get one of these, what would you want from it?

Window’s and as much space (or the illusion of) as possible. As a designer working surfaces are always at a premium. I’d also like to see temperature control addressed, and in a very simple and cost effective way. I’d hate to spend money on AC/furnace much less repairing them.

You might also look into using a cloud-like system where computers in the garden-office can access all the information inside the house where it is safer and more controlled.

I had the same problem years ago, and sought to solve the situation with a “garden shed” in the back yard. Exercising due diligence, I soon found out that if the structure exceeded 100 sq. ft. that it would have to be built “to code” on a concrete foundation and that it would affect my home insurance rates and property taxes. Under 100 sq. ft. no problem; no permanent foundation required.

The only other alternative, at the time, was to purchase a mobile construction office and move it onto the property. Unrealistic because access to the back portion of the property was blocked by the house, and that other than for temporary use, “mobile structures” are prohibited by local zoning regulations.

Interesting then that the proposed “new larger” office Pod is 3.9 x 2.3 meters, or 8.8 sq. meters; or, 96 sq. ft.

I could not find the specification for square footage of the “standard” office pod… but it is obviously less than 8.8 sq. meters.

OfficePOD are currently developing a larger POD that, at 3.9 x 2.3m on plan, will offer almost twice the space as the standard POD.

Fast forward twenty years; were I going to do it today would consider converting a steel shipping container.

Having lived on a boat for awhile, I could easily live in a home constructed of shipping containers.

Retail Shops utilizing shipping containers.

This one is probably a little outside the scope of the project, but I saw it this morning and thought it was a touch better looking than the red one seen above.

Seems like you already have a solution in mind and are looking to shoehorn features into it. You have two cases where they don’t even want what you’re trying to design as well as a third who has presented an idea identical to yours at the moment. What sets you apart from other more successful pod type satellite office options?

Perhaps it might be good to step back and ask why people have separate structures or rooms for their offices? Is it merely storage or the need to be tidy? Is there a psychological aspect to it? Maybe it’s simple aesthetics? I’m not sure to tell you the truth.

I love those cool little offices that pop up on the blogs as well but if you come at the problem with a preconceived solution you may totally miss the market you are trying to reach.

I have done some initial research into the area of concern before posting it on here. Current problems which as shown above with the containers, which is pointed out, is getting the office into the back garden. Increasing amounts of new builds are being built with the back of the house pointing to another back of a house.



I had came to this with ideas in mind but after the third comment it made me think wider. The current market consists of single room, desk, chair and door. I had not considered customers or clients coming to the office. Or the fact that this could also store items or belongings in a different area. I thought of it as basically an office room in the garden with a lot of glass and natural materials.

Thank you for all of your advice and opinions. They have greatly helped and keep an eye on this post. Ill put some concepts up.

The Herman Miller blog has some good articles, links, and tours with interviews of existing home office spaces of various individuals:

http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/01/forget_the_office_let_employees_work_from_home.html

Btw. I do work home. I still contend most people who do so though don’t have a garden or fit your specs. You have a solution looking for a problem. What’s the problem and who are the real users? Are people working remotely corporate? Young? Have families? Urban? Creative? Managers? Pencil pushers? What kind of work?

Lots to question and discover before/if you know the solution is a garden shed.

R

I always loved the Gropius house in Connecticut. He had an office on the front of his house. It could be entered through a separate outside door or from the inside of the home.

I agree with R, the garden thing is limiting from my perspective, and the purpose of a garden is to be a garden. Not saying some people wouldn’t want this, but how are you going to make it better than the Office Pod above? Is there room in the market for a competitor and improvement?

Like R says, I’d start with the people.

I do think an amazingly designed secretary desk (a folding workstation) would be great for people who work from home but have a small-ish apartment.

I’m not getting the garden pod idea either. It appears one of two things: science fictiony pod-based everything, or some star designer’s dashed off contrivance eagerly blogged by the sycophant followers. Realizing home setups are quite different North America, UK, other, the garden office pod seems a concept nobody would actually desire to use.

When one sets up a home office, a real dedicated long-hours workspace, it is often intended as the main place of work. Myself and everybody else I know that has done it, and others I’ve seen pictured, all seem to follow a common heirarchy of money based needs: computer, chair, followed by everything else, over time, that can be scrounged together for free; in my case I raided a bankrupt animation company for furniture, shelves and lights.

You should rethink this garden office pod idea. My only applicable recommendation is to advertise one heck of a ventilation system.

Garden offices are really popular in the UK and especially London, probably because we’ve got a lot of Victorian Housing stock with longish back gardens. Take a look at UK Elle Decoration, or Living Etc, there are always adverts for these things in the back. People like the idea of ‘going to work’, even if it’s at the end of their garden.

http://www.zencabins.co.uk/

We’ve also got a big thing about live-in vehicles in the UK, be in motorhomes or boats (I liveaboard in London and my office is the back cabin).

People buy them and put them at the end of the garden as an extra room or creative space.

The home I mentioned in my previous post was; three bedrooms, one bath, living room, and kitchen/dining area, with a laundry area adjoining the kitchen; a typical, “basic”, post-war residence of 850 square feet [79 sq. m.] and adequate for the purpose of raising a family. Typical of the post-war era, the property was 6,600 sq. ft. (80 x 85 ft. [24.3 x 25.9 m.]). There was a separate one-car garage.

As you can imagine, the three bedrooms, each with a built-in closet, were quite small; the living room wasn’t much more than10’ x 12’ [3.7 x 3 m]. The kitchen/dining area were common with the “laundry room” separated by a partition. We installed a sliding patio door in the back, a patio and cover, and used it as “outdoor room”, but this was in the moderate climate of coastal California.

With the average home size in the UK, and the cooler climate precluding “outdoor rooms”, I can absolutely understand how an OfficePod might be attractive. But given the Uk’s antiquity I suspect that the average property size is much smaller than in the U.S. so the amount of outdoor space available for an OfficePod would really cut into “garden space”.

Sq. M. / Sq. Ft.
214 /2,303
206 /2,217
137 /1,475
113 /1,216
97 / 1,044
88 / 947
76 / 818




I do think an amazingly designed secretary desk (a folding workstation) would be great for people who work from home but have a small-ish apartment.

There’s your project. Sounds like more fun than building a garden shed.

“Danish Modern”, Wooten (style) Desk, by Leif Elvestad, circa 1970.

45" x 32.5" x 21.5"

Thank you for all your comments and ideas. The wide range of cultures and countries posting on here gives ideas and points of view from all over the world.

I agree there are some arguments for and against the idea of a ‘Garden Office’ which I must say all have credit. As a designer in my final year of University I need to choose something which expresses my skills and interests in a project.

The reason behind choosing this as a project because there is a lot of newly built homes in the area I live. It has became more about ‘how many can we fit in here’ then it use to be. The market place for this product has limitations with numbers. But that is where alternative ideas and points of view come in. From this I have picked up on some ideas about more then one room, other uses and even a meet and greet area, which I had not considered.

Anymore ideas and arguments please feel free to comment.

Thank You