Creating a Home Office
If you want to create a home office without extending your house, there are a number of rooms that could be modified for this purpose including a spare bedroom, outbuilding, garage or loft. Before starting work on your home office, however, there are a number of aspects to take into account:
- Do not remove
- How much can you afford to spend on the conversion, and how much is it likely to cost?
- Will the room have adequate storage space for your office equipment and files?
- Will you need a telephone, internet or fax machine in the room? If so, you might need to install a telephone extension. Alternatively, you may decide that a mobile phone and a wireless internet connection will be sufficient.
- Do you need your working area to be quiet for you to concentrate? If this is the case, then it may be advisable to set up your office in an out of the way place such as a loft or garage.
- If you will be converting a garage or outbuilding for use as an office, then you will also have to think about things like power for heating and lighting. These may be extras that you will have to factor into the cost of your home office.
- There may be a risk of damp in areas outside the main home, which could cause damage to valuable office equipment.
- Another issue is security; is your outbuilding protected by a burglar alarm, and are the locks as secure as those in the rest of the home? Insurance companies often have stipulations regarding minimum requirements for locks. It would also be worthwhile checking to ensure that any outbuildings are covered by your home insurance policy.
Home or Garden?
The Garden can be a great location for an office as it provides an escape from the home environment whilst helping to distinguish that all important home/work balance.
If you’d rather have your office within the main house but are struggling for spare rooms you could establish a dual purpose room, and conceal your office in a screened off area, or contain it within a large cupboard or storage area e.g. under the stairs, if you have more than one person using the office you could consider saving more space by using stackable office chairs which can be stored neatly away when not in use.
There are many ways to disguise a home office if you want the room to retain its visual appeal. You could make furniture multi-functional. For example, in a guest bedroom you could use small filing cabinets with lockable drawers to hide office equipment. To solve the problem of exposed, messy wiring, you could use a laptop with a wireless internet connection; it is also easy to put away when not in use.
Fitted Office Furniture
Some companies specialise in supplying and fitting home offices into different parts of the home. Many offer a free design service, and are used to positioning offices in areas where space is limited. They can also supply a range of storage solutions which make the most of the space available, such as slide out shelves.
You may decide to take care of the office conversion yourself in order to save on cost. If this is the case, as well as the above considerations, you will have to ensure that you have the available time and skills to undertake the task. You also need to plan how the office will fit into the home; it is a good idea to produce a scaled diagram to help you decide.
Lastly, don’t forget to check whether you will need planning permission, and make sure that you conform to building regulations before making any proposed changes. You can check this out using the government planning website at: www.planningportal.gov.uk.