Category Archives: Home working

Garden Studios in 1878.

Garden Studios in 1878.

Historical garden studios research has uncovered another little known garden studio worker.  The Murray Scriptorium Studio space was purpose built in the grounds of a school to complete a singular massive project of literary importance; commissioned by James Murray, editor of the new English Dictionary from the Oxford University Press.

Already a member of school staff, Murray was invited to capture every word in the English spoken world, encompassing all shades of meaning.  It was a daunting project and would require a concentrated effort and determination over many years to source words, meanings and begin the compilation of a single volume.

In preparation for the work, Murray built a shed in the grounds of the School, called the Scriptorium, to house his team of assistants as well as the flood of paper slips (quotations explaining the use of words to be used in the dictionary) which started to flow in. As work progressed on the early part of the dictionary, Murray took the decision to give up his job as a teacher and become a full time lexicographer.

In the end, the school erected a more permanent structure in memory of his feat, called thereafter, The Script’.  It is now used as both an IT centre and a study space.  Sounds like an inspiring place to work!  What a great opportunity for the pupils.

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Garden Studios Save Crowded Houses in Britain.

The Daily Mail rarely comment on garden studios but their recent story seems to pointedly ignore the obvious solution, claiming that a third of us don’t have enough space to live but can’t afford to move.

‘Twenty-nine per cent say ‘their property is too small to accommodate the size of their family’ – rising to 40 per cent for those 34 and under’.

Many families will resonate with the randomly strewn children’s toys on the floor scene in the living area. Or the bantering of the children doing homework at the kitchen table. Nothing wrong with that. When combined with the need to work from home, things can get confused and stressful.

Property analyst Samantha Baden reports ‘Affordability remains a key issue for families, with the average cost of a three-bedroom home around £193,000. Very few can afford to buy – or to rent – a property of the size they want and in the area they desire to live. As a result, they are often forced to compromise on one or the other.’

Grown-up offspring who cannot afford to leave the family home are also adding to the problem facing families in this unusual squeeze.

These factors combine, perhaps explaining another element to the growing garden studios market. Those who cannot afford to move can remortgage or invest to improve with a rapid build home extension or detached garden studio suite.

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10 Ways to Get Garden Office Discounts.

garden office discountsReally good quality garden offices will ensure that paperwork and electrical equipment is always kept dry.  Sheds and cabins and other kinds of garden buildings with scant floor and ceiling insulation will allow dampness to creep in and curl your invoices.  Studioni garden office rooms are bespoke, designed and structurally engineered to order, but the ultimate range are made with certified panels which offer excellent thermal efficiency.  That may sound like an expensive alternative but consider your running costs as well and it evens out and begins to turn into a better deal after a few electricity bills.  Regardless of who you choose to buy from, there are ways to lower the purchase price of your high quality dream office…

If you would like to reduce your costs by way of the following points, mention it when you call to fix your design meeting or survey.  You can view images showing more about garden office building by following the link. Some companies choose joinery, glazing and structural elements in combination to offer excellent thermal performance and will save you money on your energy bills.  In terms of being cost-effective, this is a long-term winner.

  1. Clear the route from the delivery point to the site where your office will be, including the area itself.  You may need to break up and take away an old garden shed, fill a skip with outgrown garden play equipment, move treasured plants, anything that might add work to the installer’s day and add cost to your job.
  2. Level the site.  For sites that are sloping, there may be additional cost to the job so digging to level the area yourself can also help keep the price tight.  Check your work with a metre spirit level of laser level system.
  3. Submit a planning application, if you need to.  Only some garden rooms need planning but if you know that yours will need it, you can save money by doing it yourself.  The scale drawings are the trickiest part, but don’t worry, some companies can help with that bit.
  4. Have temporary parking permits ready for the installer’s vehicles, if your council requires permits to be displayed on your street.
  5. Call on tradesmen you know for alternative quotations.  Companies like Studioni quote for connecting your electricity but you are  always free to have that work done by someone else, if you prefer.  Ask around for quotes, you may be able to find a keener price for second fix and connection.  Your installer likes to co-ordinate your projects so that it runs smoothly and will let you know when to book in your chosen tradesperson.
  6. If you need water and waste for a shower-room, kitchen sink or WC, try having that part of the project priced locally as well.   The groundworks for water, waste and electrical cabling must be in place before beginning the installation.
  7. You may choose to purchase your shower-room or kitchen fittings directly.  Just make sure they are delivered on time for fitting.  You will be given a delivery date when you place your order – that is ‘Day 1’ and your installation will begin immediately.  Ideally, installers like everything available on day one because the building is usually standing and ready to fit out on day two!
  8. Your second fix plumbing and tiling can also be priced separately or you may have the experience and time to tackle it yourself.
  9. How are your decoration skills?  If you would like to reduce your costs slightly by painting the studio interior yourself, just let your installer know and you can begin after the finished floor and skirting boards are in place.
  10. Sometimes it may be possible to benefit from a significant discount if foundations are not required.  This very much depends on the state of the ground (for example, there may be a pre-existing concrete raft) and a company with varied experience can talk you through this possibility.  You want your new office to be secure, safe and durable. Making sure the base is sufficient and fit for purpose is crucial.

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New Lodge Design Launched

January 2011, is proving to be an exciting and happily hectic month in the industry.  As far from a seasonal slump as possible, we welcome the launch of  the first of our new designs for 2011.

Our contemporary pitched roof garden rooms have been very well received.  Throughout the past six months, we have surveyed our customers about their preferences between our old and preliminary new designs.  The new lodge design has generated 100% preference amongst professional clients, looking for a building for commercial, educational or personal use.

Although we have limited the web pages to a discreet array of sizes, any size is available to order, including buildings which require planning permission / building regulations. The added value of this design is its easy adaptability to serve as a sunroom or reception area addition to existing properties.

Having continually developed a range of pitched roof lodges since 2001, raising the thermal properties and lowering the carbon footprint of the lodge was a priority for the design team.

Our old design originally used timber joinery which required regular maintenance and was inefficient, requiring more energy to heat and cool the room.  Our trial with pvcu had its own problems, being a high carbon product.  The high quality, thermally broken, more eco-friendly aluminium frames we have chosen, together with superior glazing, elevate the calibre of this range.

We have developed a more thermally sound building and chosen more environmentally conscious materials.  In part, this has contributed to the clean lines of the design.  All in all, a much-needed upgrade, we think, which reflects the contemporary style of Studioni.

Future news: Studioni will be launching its new Studio design in the Spring 2011.

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How Just Working from a Garden Office can Make Money.

Home working in your garden room

Studioni garden rooms for home working

The benefit system is being burned, thousands of public sector jobs axed and the fall out into the private sector is yet to be realised.  No wonder that more and more UK firms are searching for cost cuts, ditching their expensive offices and promoting working from home.  Garden offices support many home-workers by providing professional, dedicated office space – rent free, tax allowable and suitable for flexible working hours.

Having already reported this shift by IBM and BT, we now see that Vodafone, Microsoft, the AA and Unilever have joined in.  Current home-workers constitute 4.3 million of us in the UK and that figure is expected to increase to 6.2 million of us, working from home, in 2012.  After BT’s report on their own working practises, stating that their home-workers were 20% more productive and had 60% less absenteeism than their central office based staff, it is no surprise that other corporations are implementing this change.

The concept brings with it an additional glow of personal savings; the annual commute can cost £2000 for many employees, some incurring more costs in lost wages by failing to reach the office due to winter storms, train strikes and other travel disruptions.  As an employee, working from home makes sense on many level: time saved, money saved and the increased option of flexible hours.  As an employer, BT has shown that productivity definitely increases and absenteeism dramatically reduces, keeping your business well ahead of your competitors and improving profit margins.
This remote-control earning will not suit every job description, clearly the likes of bakers, carpenters and factory operatives still need to travel to a specialised place of work.  Although it is not only suited to the reclusive painter or author as was once thought.  One is just as likely to find accountants, architects, doctors and solicitors working from their gardens these days.

What about the extra home heating bill incurred by home workers through winter months? As allowable expenses, the costs of running a home office can be negotiated with employers and the cost of installing a garden office can be shared, loaned or offset against tax, depending on your employment status.  Using a garden office reduces winter bills because only one small, easy to heat, room is used – not the whole house.
In summary, garden offices represent the bright recession-busting solution for many UK businesses today.  Unaffected by travel disruption and severe weather, productivity can continue to rise. Saving on rent and rates and slashing travel costs and the time taken to commute allows businesses to survive the downturn.  With a government endorsement for remote working now in place, perhaps more tax incentives will follow.

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Home Working Policies can Rejuvenate Derry/Donegal Region.

Derry city is a hub for innovation and enjoys an empowered support system through local Chambers, EU bodies and Cross Border Economic Partnerships. Strategically remote, intelligent planning and investment has boosted the region’s status and supported on-going competitive development. Economic sustainability seems to be a concern behind the support but remote living and static work arrangements are very much a problem of the past in many UK regions. It’s time the north west caught up because they no longer face a geographical disadvantage. The environmental benefits must be embraced and encouraged to truly sustain the area.

Flexible working practices have taken off in popularity in mainland UK lately. The most popular option, also the most beneficial to business and to staff, is the flexible home working option. Various flexible working patterns are possible and include part-time job sharing, hour compression/staggering as well as home working. The DVLA and Northern Ireland civil service focus very much on forms of desk-sharing, while others such as the Ofsted case study look at more radical change where government employees are mostly based at home.

In terms of benefits, business gain on time worked and productivity as the time spent commuting is transferred into extra working time. Staff appreciate the opportunity to work from home and avoid commuting, especially when offered a distinctly professional office space in their back yards. The carbon savings from reducing travel are significant and when added to the low carbon footprint of a sustainable office pod, they become substantial. Without business rent and rates to pay, purchasing home offices as moveable business assets is a no brainer, financially.

Improvements to technology over recent years, such as remote access, mean that employees can gain access to work servers from home. Affordable garden offices are thankfully available in Northern Ireland now, so the need to pay surplus delivery costs to ship the purchase across the water from mainland UK no longer applies. This development will facilitate many more home-workers, both government and SME, to benefit from flexible home working in a tailor-made space. The largest savings for businesses will come about from relinquishing rental of office premises and the energy expenditure therein, in favour of home working.

Filtered down through all levels of business in the north west region, flexible working initiatives will save costs, time and improve the loyalty and health of our workforce. Mobilised by the lack of commute and motivated by a stress-free work space, productivity and efficiency improvements need not be bound by figures but can expect to rise above 40%.

Tailor-made garden offices enable companies to provide a more efficient cross-border working environment with impressive carbon footprint reductions which relieve pressure on transport infrastructures. Employers have begun to feel the pressure from local Government and European regulation on environmental obligations and employee rights and aspirations. As part of an accommodation and environmental policy, home working enables a company to meet these challenges head on.

EURES partnerships between Donegal and Derry will succeed at increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of the North West Economic function by encouraging modern remote working practices. If there is one way to strengthen the North West’s SME sector and develop the capacity of executives, it is to inform and support employers to take up flexible home working policies and negate the daily commute. As a result, the north west of Ireland’s economic structure will be a player in national and international competitiveness.

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How to Avoid Northern Ireland Rates Rise, and Save Money, with a New Garden Office.

While the assembly recognised the need to minimise financial pressure on small businesses, district councils have shown a different hand altogether.  Unfortunate if you rent a business premises in Magherafelt, Armagh, Ballymoney, Ballymena or Belfast where increases were up to 8.4% on last year’s figures.  However, there is an alternative which avoids business premises rent and rates in the form of garden offices; suitable for just this group – small to medium businesses and consultants currently renting their business premises.

Edwin Poots warned: “While I commend those councils that have kept increases to a minimum, the disparity between the lowest and highest rates in Northern Ireland by councils would indicate that a number of them should be seeking to deliver high quality services more efficiently.”
District rates vary from district to district, reflecting the rateable resources and spending policies of individual councils.  Whether one agrees with their decisions or not, one is obliged to pay for the services or forgo them.

Garden offices suit two distinct types of client.  The first has been renting a business premises for some time but needs to cut costs.  Our garden office is usually installed in a back garden which has a side access gate.  As a business asset, this purchase can be ordered as a moveable office.  In the event of selling the home, the garden office can easily be transported to a new site.  As such, it qualifies as an asset which can be offset against business tax.  With rent and rates free space, the office very soon pays for itself.  Our second group of clients has been working from home, in a spare room or from the kitchen table.  Purchasing a garden office gives them a professional and dedicated work space and frees their home from work papers and equipment.  Again, the financial benefits apply.  With all options, the garden office provides a clean, green meeting place and working space which does not infringe on family home life.

We appear to be in an economic downturn which has not quite righted itself.  It is a prudent move to consolidate and down-size while maintaining your products and services.  We hope that we can help more businesses stabilise their current situation and build better futures.  If there is a design requirement unaddressed by garden room off the shelf products, contact a company with design experience which can create one especially for you, at no extra cost.

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