Designing the Perfect Garden Office: Tips and Inspiration for Business Owners
The pandemic was a hard time for a lot of people and many struggled to adapt to the changes that it brought with it, but one benefit that it brought was an improvement in work-life balance as many were encouraged to work from home for the duration.
Now that it’s over, lots of people who are able to work from home have decided to continue to do so, or at least maintain a balance between going into the office and home working. Not everyone has the same space available at home though, and taking over your kitchen or bedroom for a makeshift home office can be quite inconvenient for the rest of your house members.
This is why many people chose to invest in building a garden office space to be able to keep working from home without taking over the rest of the house. At 1st Choice Leisure Buildings, we have over forty years in creating garden buildings and are no stranger to the garden office, so if that’s what you’re looking into you’re in the right place.
Benefits of having a garden office
There are loads of reasons why a garden office is a good idea, no matter what you do for work. Whether you’re making and taking calls, hosting meetings or just getting down to business and working away all day, you’ll find it easier to get it done in one of our external home offices.
A garden office is convenient
Travelling to and from a place of work is never enjoyable, whether you’re getting sweaty on the train into the city centre or driving through the rush hour traffic twice a day, commuting is an expensive and time-consuming activity that most of us would rather avoid.
Having a garden office means you get to skip the worst part of the day by whittling your commute down to a thirty-second walk, getting right into the action even if you only managed to get out of bed half an hour before you had to log on.
If you run your own business or are self-employed, you can have all of your office equipment in one place without having to lug it around town, and you can create a work environment that is suitable to you with your own choice of office furniture.
There’s nothing worse than traipsing into the office just to sit at an uncomfortable cheap chair with no lumbar support, staring at a screen that’s too low for you, and having to be thankful for the experience.
Having your own dedicated office space can make you feel much more comfortable at work, and if it’s located in your garden, it’s not only more accommodating but more convenient too.
We stock garden offices in a range of sizes to fit the space available to you, and if you’re lucky enough to fall into our green delivery zones we’ll assemble it free of charge too.
Improvement in productivity
Skipping the commute means that you have more time to get a good night’s sleep and make yourself an energising breakfast before you get to work, but that’s not the main reason why a garden office can improve your productivity.
Having your own dedicated space to work in means that you can cut out any distractions that impede your ability to work. This can range from the chit-chat and blaring phone calls of the office to the kids running around after school or the doorbell ringing from aggravating salesmen.
You’ll also benefit from breathing in cleaner air, as commuting to a city centre or sitting in traffic can dramatically increase the amount of fumes that you breathe in on a daily basis. Fresh air and natural light are really important for both our productivity and wellness.
A garden office pod can really boost your productivity by giving you a dedicated and distraction-free workplace away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.
Reduced noise and distractions
When it comes to getting down to work, cutting out distractions is easily one of the best ways to keep on top of your workload, but distractions come in many forms.
If you work from home, it also means that you’ll be less inclined to get distracted by the ever present draw of taking a break by sitting down on the sofa to catch up with your favourite series, stopping to make an extravagantly over-the-top lunch, or catching up on sleep with a quick nap (we’ve all been there).
Getting out of the house and into your garden office means that you’ll be able to avoid these distractions comfortably and easily, and you can communicate to whoever it is you live with that it’s a strictly no-distraction zone between the hours of your choosing.
Having your own garden office means that from when that door closes behind you, the only noise pollution you’ll encounter is that which you’ve created yourself (queue Magic Radio).
If you have a partner or housemate that also works from home, or kids that get back from school before the end of the workday, you can keep yourself separated for the duration to avoid becoming distracted by the noise in your home.
It doesn’t have to just be a garden office
Many of our customers enjoy the extra space that they save by having a dedicated garden office instead of taking over another room in the house, but if you have enough space you might consider using it for multiple applications.
Many people who invest in garden offices also utilise them for a number of other reasons, such as a home gym, a storage area, a man cave, other business use like a workshop or studio, or even as a guest room for family members and friends who are visiting.
A separate building opens up a whole world of opportunities without having to invest in a permanent building or apply for planning permission. We supply garden offices in all shapes and sizes, so if you’re going to the effort of investing in a garden office, why not make the most of it and make use of the building for more than purely business use.
When you’re browsing through our options, consider how you might benefit from using the garden office for personal use, and take the sizing into account to find the best option for you.
Garden offices don’t typically require planning permission
To start with, the rules on planning permissions do change depending on your local authority, so make sure to check with them before ordering to see what restrictions are put in place.
As a general guide, a garden office will only require permissions if it covers more than half the garden area, has a deep concrete base, or is over three metres tall with a pent roof. This means that for the garden offices advertised on our site, you don’t need planning permission at all.
Considering that planning permissions aren’t going to prove a barrier to your new garden office, another concern that some people raise is whether or not it will lead to an increase in their council tax.
As the property is not increasing in size, the council tax banding will stay the same even though you’ll be adding value to the property. If you’re unsure about this or want some clarification, we encourage you to reach out to your local council for assurance.
That means that besides any increases in utility bills (which should be minimal considering you won’t be using utilities in your home at the same time), you won’t be hit with any unexpected additional costs outside of the cost of the garden office itself.
Business rates & tax breaks
Finally, one of the greatest appeals of investing in a garden office is that you or your business could be eligible to claim tax relief on the purchase.
Each business is unique and the tax breaks and allowances can vary hugely depending on the commercial use of the garden office and your own financial setup, so it’s best to get financial advice if you aren’t sure how it would apply to you.
In terms of business rates, if your business is located in one of the many designated economic areas around the country, or in a rural area that is looking for expansions, you may be able to secure business rates if you can prove that it is for business use.
Make sure to research whether or not you’ll have to pay capital gains tax on this purchase, as there are too many moving parts for us to be able to provide a sweeping guidebook that will fit everyone’s needs.
Claiming back VAT
If you’re a business owner or a sole trader who plans to work from the office, it’s likely that you’ll be eligible to claim back tax on the cost of the garden office. You might also be able to claim VAT back on the cost of office furnishings to go inside the office space, which can massively reduce the overall price you have to pay to envisage this possibility.
For example, you could theoretically have your limited company pay for the garden office as an expense, and then claim back the VAT at the end of the tax year. This is for guidance only and you should seek financial advice before banking on this, and also should be aware that the rules might be different if your business is VAT registered.
You could also consider installing a separate meter to manage your usage and paying these specific utility bills through the business as well.
Capital allowances for your garden office
Capital expenditure and capital allowances are other areas that you should research when making the decision to pay for a garden office with your limited company.
As a general rule of thumb, even though it is a designated area for business use, the building likely won’t qualify as a place of industrial function, which means that you will most probably be unable to use this purchase as a capital allowance to offset your corporation tax expenses.
Once again, whether you’re self-employed, VAT-registered, or anything additional, make sure to consult with a financial advisor to see what parts could count as tax-deductible for your business and to make sure that you only pay tax on the necessary parts
Choosing the right garden office for your business
Your business is unique to you, and so what you deem as business use is something only you can really know. What we know about though is garden offices, so if you need help with choosing the right one for your home, head to our showroom or get in touch and our friendly team will do the rest.