By February 4, 2015 Read More →

Finding the ideal live/work space

Live:work space -Rosie BrayOver the last few years the options for home workers searching for their ideal live/work space have mushroomed.

Today’s sponsored post from Black Brick Property Finders looks at the possibilities:

Actually living the work-from-home life is often very different from the magazine lifestyle we originally aspired to.

The work/life balance can end up completely shot, and without proper downtime, burnout is a real danger.

Finding the ideal live/work space is crucial for a productive, successful home based or freelance business.

The home office

Ideally, you need a spare room with a door that closes. Realistically, you at least need a space to call your own that you can set boundaries around.

Even psychological boundaries work better than none in a live/work space. You might, for instance, start out at the kitchen table or in a corner of the dining room. In this case your boundaries are definitely invisible ones, but by making it clear to family members (read children) that your work space and equipment are sacred you can discourage them from borrowing pens or hogging your tablet’s memory with games.

While it’s not foolproof, it puts a serious tone on the enterprise and sends out firm ‘keep off the grass’ messages.

The garden office

Small, purpose-built outbuildings are catching on. They shorten the commute to around a minute, and create that all-important sense of ‘going to work’ that a wander from one room to another lacks.

Some convert standard garden sheds through adding insulation, proper doors and windows and heating/electrics. Others go more high-end and splash out on a bespoke unit that includes kitchen and bathroom facilities. Prices range from a few thousand to the tens of thousands, with styles and sizes to suit most needs and space availability.

Live:work space - Homestead Timber BuildingsIf you do decide to go this route, think it through completely so you take what might happen in the future into consideration. The benefits of a garden annexe can add value to your property as well as providing a more professional and impressive working environment.

Some garden office styles are suitable for repurposing as granny flats should you decide to give up the business or move to more traditional office premises. Planning for eventual alternative uses of your garden office can help you decide on a style, size and plan for what is, after all, a sizeable business investment.

The shared office

Some people find a live/work space just doesn’t work for them. It has little to do with whether they enjoy the freelance roller coaster and lots to do with coping with the occasional feeling of isolation.

No matter how much you enjoy the work you do, solo freelancing ultimately means that for most of the time it’s just you and the tools of your trade. Sometimes it gets a bit lonely, especially if you’re more used to the banter and camaraderie of a normal job.

A halfway house option is finding an office you can share the rental on with a fellow freelancer, even if just for a couple of days a week.

Coworking is favoured in some quarters. You rent your own regular desk or spot in a shared office, but all your fellow workers are engaged in their own business operations rather than working for one employer. Sharing goals and visions with other freelance workers or business owners can provide the energy and motivation that sometimes slips when you’re working at home, alone.

Similarly, hot-desking works for some. If this is a new concept to you, it’s where you rent a desk in an established office, either on a permanent basis or a daily basis. Some work in this way all the time, others pop in and out as needs or wants dictate. You never know quite who’ll be at the next desk, and since it’s not your own desk the drawbacks include having nowhere permanent for paper or document storage.

Live:work space-Andy-BritnellThe ideal office

Owners of an established home-based business could also consider moving house to find the ideal live/work conditions. A situation where this might be beneficial is if it would be profitable to live nearer your clients.

If you’re in the Midlands and your clients are all in London, living a little closer might make meetings easier and less costly, and maybe having a London address would add a little cachet to your brand.

Specialist house buying agents can help with property searches to make the transition to a new town easier. You can use their expert local knowledge to root out properties that suit your business type, and harness their insider know-how regarding up-coming areas for a smarter property investment.

Working from home has challenges galore, but making a success of it is up there with life’s greatest rewards. Aside from a great idea and bucket-loads of energy, the journey starts with finding and claiming your ideal live/work space.

Photo credits: Rosie Bray

Homestead Timber Buildings

Andy Britnell

Posted in: Home offices

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