What’s Going Wrong With Your Garden Office?
With the work from home revolution very much upon us, we’re all scrambling to find ways to make our home offices the best that they can be.
The pressure that this change brings has seen many of us turning to garden offices, be they summer houses or entire structures.
After all, a garden setup has previously served some of our best-loved minds. From Roald Dahl right through to Phillip Pullman.
Even better, a garden setup can typically be installed in a week or less, making this a far more appealing option than a lengthy home renovation.
Is it Working?
The benefits speak for themselves, but, what happens if you move outside and find that this office setup simply doesn’t work for you?
Unfortunately, the romanticism of ‘the artist’s shed’ doesn’t always prepare you for the reality of working out of the garden.
In fact, some common mistakes make it near impossible to enjoy this room of your own. Luckily, there are solutions.
You just need to ask yourself whether you’re holding your garden office back in the following ways.
Going Without Home Comforts
In ye days of olde, a garden office quite literally meant a wooden shed. Authors would slave away by candlelight (or something like that) and wear gloves or blankets to stave off the cold.
It was all very romantic but also entirely impractical. Probably not how olden day authors worked at all.
Luckily, when we talk about a garden office in the modern age, we’re definitely not referring to a claptrap shed, but rather fully-kitted spaces.
In reality, authors like Louis De Berniers now have garden offices with wifi, insulation, and more. With a trained electrician and a quick trip to a DIY store, you could have the same.
You could even carpet your shed if you wanted to, making this far more like an extension of your home than a cold and unwelcoming workspace.
Giving the Space Over to Multiple Purposes
As Virginia Woolf taught us, having a room of one’s own matters for doing good work, and never is that more the case than right now.
As such, your garden office should be entirely dedicated to your work efforts.
If you make the mistake of using your garden office as a place to relax or, worse, let your kids play in there, then is it any surprise you have trouble concentrating?
After all, you wouldn’t spend your free time in the office back in pre-pandemic times, would you? You most definitely wouldn’t let your kids play there when you weren’t at your desk!
Well, your home office deserves the same treatment. Your brain needs to associate this space with work and work alone for you to be productive.
Failing to Put a Lock on the Door
Along roughly the same vein, a failure to put a lock on your office door can also prove detrimental. This wasn’t something we needed to consider before this past year, but many a homeworker has paid for not considering this.
Even when you’re out in the office, you aren’t safe from kid-based or partner-centric distractions until you lock the door.
This may seem harsh, but this locked-door mentality is no different from heading out each day. Make it clear to your family that, though you are at home, they should still treat it as though you aren’t.
That way, you can keep your workflow going at those crucial moments. Your family can understand boundaries that are crucial to making this setup work.
Not to mention that you can avoid a meeting-based invasion circa Professor Robert Kelly back in 2017.
Not Taking Time to Appreciate the Charm
If none of the above serves to take your garden office up a notch, then you may be simply creating a functional home office but failing to appreciate the charm on offer.
Luckily, few working setups provide more chances for charm than a garden office.
With a real treehouse-esque vibe, the views on offer here alone are worth turning up for each morning.
They are at least if you take the time to make the most of them with stunning outdoor office windows or entire glass-fronted doors.
Equally, bringing more of that outside influence in with natural materials and plenty of office plants could go a long way.
Especially when it comes to enhancing your love for your outdoor space, as well as your productivity when you’re working here.
Never Getting Organized
Speed is a notable benefit to garden office installation right now. Accommodating the almost overnight remote shifts that many workers are facing.
Yet, while you may need to get your office up and running fast, you should take a fair amount of time to organize the space once you’re past that first hurdle.
In reality, office organization is fundamental for everything from a clear working headspace to efficient methods during your workdays.
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The absolute worst thing you can do is assume that ‘it’s just a shed’ so it doesn’t need the same attention as, say, the office that you worked from before.
In reality, outdoor sheds are even more wanting of reliable organization systems, seeing as these are spaces that we quite literally create from scratch.
With that in mind, it’s fundamental that you clear those workboxes as soon as possible by investing in filing cabinets, bookcases, and anything else that you might need.
That way, you have a comfortable and easy working setup that leaves everything to-hand without creating clutter.
Are You Ready for a New Space?
Outdoor offices can be fantastic, and the famous names who have enjoyed them before now are a testament to that.
Even if you’re struggling to perfect the space at the moment, paying a little attention to what’s going wrong could see you settling into your new office in no time.
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.