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The best way to add a home office

There are around two million people working from home in the UK, and that number looks set to grow. Consequently, the need for home office space is on the rise.

But what’s the best way to go about creating this office space in your home? The simplest option may be changing the use of one of the rooms in your house. But that will mean sacrificing some living space. And then there’s the tricky balance of keeping your work and home life separate enough that you can switch off.

So how about creating some new space dedicated to work? We’ve outlined a few options below to help you compare costs…

Converting your garage into a home office

If you’re lucky enough to have a garage and a drive where you could keep your car, this could be a good option. Especially if you currently only use your garage for junk, as many of us do!

The cost of a garage conversion varies, depending on location, specification etc., but expect to spend between £10k and £15k.

Our previous article on the cost of garage conversions gives some more useful figures.

Converting your loft into a home office

A loft conversion can be a great way to help create a bit more separation between work and home. That extra flight of stairs makes all the difference.

Not all lofts are suitable for conversion, and some require significantly more work than others to get them ship shape. Our guide to loft conversions will help you understand more about whether your home might be suitable.

The cost of a loft conversion varies from around £20k to upwards of £40k, depending on the type of conversion. It also depends on whether you’re going to keep it purely as office space, or whether you want to take the opportunity to include things like an extra toilet. Our article on the cost of loft conversions will help you get a better idea about where on that scale you sit.

Building a garden office

Building a new office in your garden gives an even greater degree of separation between work and home. It can also be a cheaper alternative than making alterations to existing structures in your home.

Having said that, with the garden office market booming, costs can easily spiral. There are some very glamorous options out there!

Before you begin, you will need to check with your local authority whether you need planning permission. If the height of the eaves is under 2.5m and the overall height of 3m (or 2.5m if within 2m of a boundary), you should be OK to go ahead without planning permission. But the size, proximity to, and location in relation to, the house can also affect planning rules. If in any doubt, check. With the right information, your local planning department should let you know within two weeks if you need planning permission.

Building regulations don’t apply if you’re going for a timber cabin – the most popular option for garden offices. There are lots of specialist suppliers who can provide you with the basic structure – or we can take care of that for you.

The cost of a garden office varies widely. For £1,000 you could have a 3 x 3m uninsulated cabin. But it is wise to spend a bit more to improve thermal efficiency. You’ll also need to allow up to £1,000 if you need to run an electricity supply from your house to sockets within the office. And don’t forget connectivity. A fully glazed, insulated, wired and heated bespoke option could cost upwards of £30k!

For most small business needs, a budget of around £6,000 would get you a great work space of around 3m x 4m, comfortable all year round.

Things to remember when considering a garden office:

  • You’ll need a path to it – gravel can be a good option to help deter intruders
  • It may be an easy target for intruders – considering getting security cameras and window blinds, and ensure all doors and windows meet your insurer’s requirements
  • If buying from a supplier, check whether the foundation is included in their quoted price
  • If you’re working on a budget, avoid high spec features like bi-fold doors
  • Go for an option that is as highly insulated as your budget allows – it is worth the additional cost up front; it will keep your running costs down
  • If you’re keeping expensive equipment in your garden office, speak to your insurance company to check your home insurance policy covers these items.