Pretty much all of us will have felt some degree of pressure on our living spaces over the duration of the pandemic and, in particular, the periods of lockdown.
This helped to drive significant levels of investment in home improvement projects, with a focus on enhancing our living spaces.
If space was already constrained within the home, then many of us turned to our gardens for additional room that could be utilised, which is what led to the rise of the ‘shoffice.’
So what is a shoffice?
Combining the words shed and office, the term shoffice covers any form of garden office, studio or hobby room, fitted out with all the essential requirements of modern living.
Often designed in the style of a modern orangery or garden room, these are permanent structures, which can often be built under Permitted Development (averting the need for planning permission) and are intended to be used and enjoyed all year round.
Often incorporating a generous proportion of glazing, these new spaces create the ideal environment for working, with abundant natural light.
What has driven this trend?
One of the more positive aspects of the Covid pandemic has been an increase in job flexibility, with the requirements of the employee now very much needing to be covered by potential employers.
Born initially out of necessity, and now increasingly through choice, remote and hybrid working are now everyday terms, which continue to be a significant part of the UK employment market.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), once restrictions had been removed in Spring 2022, some 38% of working adults had conducted some form of hybrid working. This compares to just 12% prior to the pandemic.
With this sustained increase in different forms of home working, it is unsurprising that these types of garden room extension, whether freestanding or attached to a host building, became so popular.
What are the benefits
Being able to assign some dedicated space, which did not previously exist, has meant a shoffice has been used for anything from an office to a studio, meeting room or a multi-functional room combining space for a desk with, for example, a gym.
Perhaps one of the main benefits is being able to create separation between home and work life, something a stand-alone shoffice would clearly provide.
In addition, being closer to nature (an example of biophilic design), along with natural light, has proven benefits for both physical and mental well-being.
How to style
Size and proportion are key elements to consider, so as to ensure the proposed shoffice does not dominate its surroundings.
Using a natural material, such as timber, is an obvious way to complement the backdrop. Whilst natural light will flow throughout the day, it is important to consider both interior and exterior lighting – the latter should also encompass the route between the main house and shoffice.
The functionality of the intended space is vital to fully consider during the design phase. An experienced designer will ensure these considerations are fully deliberated, whilst presenting 3D designs which show the layout of furniture etc.
A quality shoffice will represent an investment which will add significant value to your overall property. It is worth taking the time to fully research your options and engage a reputable supplier with proven capabilities in design, planning and build.
Karen Bell is Creative Director at David Salisbury, a company manufacturing and installing top of the range hardwood conservatories, garden rooms and orangeries for over 35 years.