I have worked from home for most of my career and I can honestly say that the years where I have worked from my dedicated garden office space have been my most productive.
Having a garden office offers me all the benefits of working from home – setting my own hours, being able to pop home for lunch and not missing a parcel when its delivered. Whilst giving me the discipline of going out to work. My commute may be short – I think its about two minutes – but it does mean leaving the house each day and the distractions that would otherwise invade my work time.
Having a dedicated workspace means I have been very productive over the last few years. I have written thousands of posts on the subject of garden rooms and offices on both this site and The Garden Room Guide as well as developing some key projects for my other business interests.
When I analyse my working pattern I realise that having a garden office has created a sense of discipline and routine which has allowed me to be so productive, here is a snap shot:
I start work when I am ready – I know that many garden office workers keep office hours, I don’t this is because I have a few health issues which make the nights bad, so I start work when I am ready. I actually start my work day in the house checking in with emails whilst having a coffee. My inbox can dictate the pattern of the day!
I start work as soon as I arrive at the office – Whilst checking those early emails I will have prioritised the tasks for the day. I then set off on my short commute down the garden path. I am able to log on to my computer and start work immediately. The thing with a dedicated workspace like a garden office is that everything is set up and ready. In the past I have worked from the dining room table and was forever setting up and then packing up my equipment. The office is perfectly warm when I arrive thanks to the heating in the office being on a timer and thermostat meaning its reached my desired working temperature before the time I might typically arrive. If I was designing the heating system today I would choose a system which allowed me to control the heating via my smartphone (many suppliers offer this system or others which you can control by text message) this would give me more control on days when I am having a later start.
I am able to pop home for lunch – the morning session tends to be my most productive time and I find I am ready for a break at lunchtime. Working from a garden office offers you the luxury of popping home for lunch. This is double edged for me as its also the time our post arrives and I often have copies of our books to send to customers – living in the country the postman will take them from the house!
Another productive period – Refreshed after my lunchtime break I return to the office for the afternoon session. I tend to clock off when I have achieved what was on my list. I am paranoid about an empty inbox so I try to address all the days emails. I do have a rule though that I won’t look at my email after 5.30pm! I may still be working then, but I close my email client and turn off notifications, this way when I leave the office at the end of the day – I leave work too. It would be very easy to keep checking in on things, but this is my way of maintaining my work life balance.
Actually a garden office is a good way of creating a defined work and home life balance when you work from home. As you can contain your work in the office and close the door on it when you leave.
This pattern works really well for me. I know I am a biased garden office worker as I make a living writing about such buildings, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t go back to any other form of working!