This review features the Varidesk ProPlus30, which was kindly gifted to me. I’ve been curious about standing desks for a while. I’ve heard about some
Freelancing and working from home often goes hand in hand. Which is great, but it can sometimes make the whole work/life balance thing tricky. I’ve talked a lot on the blog about the difficulties of sticking to work hours, and the problems with friends and family not respecting your workspace. Thankfully, freelancing doesn’t mean you have to work from your sofa (you can, obviously. In fact, I often prefer it). But you can work from a co-working space, a coffee shop, a library or from one of the increasingly creative garden offices and sheds around.
For example, did you know you could work in one of the following unusual workspaces?
- A nice little treehouse to escape to.
- The eDEN tank office on the right is pretty damn sexy
- If you win the lottery, you might want to check out Archipods
- On a budget? Try some of the increasingly popular ‘office in a cupboard‘ options.
Obviously most of them are pricey (I was lucky that the previous owners of our house had already built an office on to the side of the garage), but a freelancer can dream, right?
If you could build a dream office at home, what would it be like?
- A nice little treehouse to escape to.
This week, I’ve been giving my desk area a bit of a spring clean. It’s been….under-used the last few months. Not because I haven’t been working, but because I’ve mainly been working from the comfort of my sofa where it’s warm and cosy.
Hearing whispers of actual sunshine this weekend, I found a little time to start working on clearing out all the stuff I’ve been dumping in my little garden office, and turning it back into a working environment. I’ve also been thinking about how I can add a little more life to the place, particularly after reading Penny Golightly’s new blog Golightly Gardens (an excellent thrifty gardening blog).
When this indoor allotment (£24.99 from MenKind) popped up in my inbox, I couldn’t resist. Small enough to keep on your desk, but big enough to grow three types of herbs – Coriander, Basil and Oregano.
If you prefer something a little more temporary, you might want to hop on over to Postcarden. They do a wide selection of mini gardens that arrive in the post, you guessed it, in postcard form. I’m a sucker for the village cottage version.
Are you giving your desk or office area a spring clean? What detail are you lusting after?
When we were house hunting back in August, I had an idea in my head of the perfect little house with a lovely little room to make into an office. Then we found our current house, which has a garden office built on the side of the garage. What could be more freelance friendly?
The great thing about an office garden is that you get an area that’s specifically for work, so you can adopt a better work/life balance. Once you’re done for the day, you can walk away from it. Much harder to do that if you work in the kitchen or lounge (especially if you have kids). It’s not exactly a cheap option, but if you’re looking to freelance long-term it could be a great investment.
If you’re looking at building/buying your own garden office, there are several options. A lot of them don’t need planning permission either. Ours was extended from our garage by the previous occupants, but there are a lot of standalone options too.
Where to buy a Garden Office, Garden Room or Shed Office
- Extravagant options for those with plenty of garden space: RoomWorks
- Still quite pricey (starting around £5k) but lovely buildings. Also have duo/trio options which might be handy if you want to let the space out: Smart Garden Offices.
- Log cabins starting at around £740: Dunster House
- DIY Garden Offices at…you guessed it…B&Q
- Lots of budget-friendy offices (starting from £379) on Homebase.
- Both Argos and Amazon have some great buys too.
- Great resource for finding out about shed offices: Shedworking
Basics you need to think about
Having a garden office or room isn’t quite as simple as just building a pretty shed. You’ll probably need electricity to plug in your laptop, printer and other gadgets. If possible, get several plug points around the building in case you want to change your room around.
You’ll also want to consider whether you need a separate phone line and broadband access. Your wi-fi might not reach your garden office, or you might prefer to keep your broadband and phone line separate for expenses purposes.
Garden offices can get chilly without a bit of heating. Even with the radiator in mine, I did spend a couple of days during winter typing in fingerless gloves. Check out my guide for how to stay warm during the cooler months when working from home.
Things to buy for your garden office
A decent chair
You’re going to be sitting down most of the day. Treat your bum and back to something that will actually support you. Of all the things to buy, this is the area to splurge on.
That said, I spent £40 on this chair from Tesco. It’s comfortable, supportive and the high back keeps me sitting up straight.
I was going to go through your desk options, but really as long as it’s high enough for you to work comfortably and big enough for all your stuff, it’s fine.
A wireless printer
The benefit of a wireless printer, is that you don’t have to faff about with wires each time you want to take your laptop in and out of the office. There are some great ones that also scan and copy, which can be handy for expenses and paperwork.
Bit of an odd one, but our wireless doorbell is a godsend. I’m often in the office when the postman comes, and can’t hear the doorbell from in the house. The wireless doorbell means I can take the little doorbell sound box with me and hear it wherever I go in the house. There are plenty of budget-friendly wireless doorbells on Amazon.
Wall art/Flowers/General decoration
Not essential. not even a little bit. But some decent wall art will give you something interesting to look at when you’re struggling for ideas. I’ve got a couple of posters up, and try to get flowers occasionally to add colours. I’ve also popped a bird feeder on the tree outside my office, so I get a snapshot of nature when I look up.
For those late night deadlines when you’re out of sunlight.
I tend to take my iPad in with me for music or the radio (or maybe a cheeky catch up from last night’s TV).
What do you think about the concept of having a mini office in your garden? If you work from home, where do you work? Pop on over to my Facebook page and share a photo of your working space!
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