What is a Shoffice? The UK's Smart Garden Offices & Studios
Lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic forced many of us to look at our homes in a new way, and this gave rise to a trend for 'shoffices' that swept the UK.
Whether or not you're a fan of blending the words shed and office to create 'shoffice', the phenomenon has been hard to ignore as many thousands of people have found innovative ways to create smart garden offices that make for comfortable home-working spaces.
In this article we'll take a look at some of the different approaches to shoffices, the many ways in which they can be used, and the key considerations you'll need to keep in mind if you're looking to create your own garden studio.
What is a shoffice?
While the term shoffice took root when people began to use their garden sheds as makeshift offices, there is now a wide range of new constructions and adapted buildings that might be categorised as shoffices.
For many people, creating a shoffice is simply a case of converting their shed, garage, summerhouse or outbuilding into a space that will be practical and comfortable to spend the working day in.
For others, creating a shoffice has meant building a garden studio from scratch, and there are plenty of options available for those willing and able to self-build a shoffice.
What different types of shoffices are there?
For self-builders keen to create a versatile shoffice space, there is the light, airy Tiger Garden Studio, which comes with pressure-treated panels guaranteed against rot and decay for 15 years.
Given that many of us spend eight hours a day or more at our desks, investing in a more spacious or luxurious garden studio, with installation included, makes a lot of sense. Products like the Clara Log Cabin from Tiger Sheds offer additional comfort and security, constructed with heavy-duty logs for durability and insulation, along with toughened glass windows and doors.
While plastic and metal options are available, they struggle to compete with the properties of timber for creating a shoffice with a natural finish that blends in well to a garden environment.
Timber is easy to personalise, customise, and add accessories to. Secure glazing and 3- or 5-lever locks ensure that timber sheds provide well-protected working areas.
Bespoke builds through manufacturers like Tiger Sheds allow you the freedom to create an ideal work setting, with products featuring timber up to 44mm thick offering excellent insulation.
What are the planning requirements for a shoffice?
We always advise people to consult the planning regulations relevant to their local area before building any garden shed, office, summerhouse or studio, as these regulations vary in different parts of the country.
Many shoffices are classed as permitted developments and do not require planning permission, because they take up less than 50 per cent of the land area around a property, are tucked away behind the front elevation of a house, and do not exceed 2.5 metres in height (if within two metres of the property boundary, or three metres if not within two metres of the boundary).
For a details run-down of the key considerations around planning permission for your shoffice, visit our planning permission page.
Once you've made sure you can go ahead with your shoffice build, key considerations include the all-important Wi-Fi connection, as well as power and heating.
Safety is the priority when it comes to powering your garden studio, so speak to a certified electrician who can run armoured cables underground, or along walls or fences, and test them rigorously before you use your shoffice.
For many shoffice owners, heating their garden studio is as simple as buying a standalone electrical heater, of which there are many products designed to heat small-to-medium sized rooms.
While you might be able to connect to your home's Wi-Fi if your shoffice is close enough, for a truly smart garden office there is no substitute for a dedicated router if you have electrical power to run one.
It might be advisable to take a moment to check whether your home insurance policy covers expensive equipment left in external buildings before you go ahead and fill your shoffice with all your technological treasures. If you're not covered, this might be simply rectified by a call to your insurer.
Additional security features, lights and alarms for your shoffice are also available at our accessories page.
What are the benefits of a shoffice?
As well as providing you with a place to work during your nine-to-five, your shoffice can become a useful space for all the family.
Perhaps you need an extra indoor space for exercise, meditation or yoga? Or a creative space for making art or crafts?
Shoffices also come into their own when you're entertaining in the garden, providing people with a shelter from the inevitable rain if you're barbecuing, and giving the kids a space to play in away from their parents if you need a little time apart.
Smart garden offices are an exciting addition that will increase the value of your home.
If you need any advice about creating a shoffice, you can contact us and a member of our experienced team will help you navigate the key considerations to ensure your garden studio meets all your needs and expectations.