Working from home has become the ‘new normal’ in recent months and many of us have had to adapt to make a success of it.
Evolution has been key, those most successful at working from home have evolved, perhaps from the early days of balancing a laptop on the kitchen table to creating a more intentional workspace within their homes.
Easier said than done when you own your home, but for those working from home in rented accommodation, the situation has been even less straightforward.
For the 21% who live in a privately rented home, options have been more limited.
Few landlords are happy about their tenants converting the loft, for instance, and nine out of ten letting agents that we spoke with said they would expect their landlords to object to the erection of a garden office – albeit with one notable exception.
We showed the agents three types of garden building. A Cabin Master Garden Office, An Arctic Cabins Hut and a Work From Home Space Cabin. The first two options are already popular with professionals working from home, indeed, even prior to the pandemic lockdown many garden rooms and huts were doubling as home studios, offices and various other work spaces. Despite this, nine out of ten letting agents believed landlords would consider these buildings to be ‘permanent’ and block their erection.
In contrast, all the agents said they thought their landlords would allow installation of a Work From Home Space cabin because they would deem them a temporary structure, as one put it, “no more permanent than a barbecue or a storage chest for your wheelie bins”.
NB - All the letting agents advised getting permission, preferably written, from your landlord both for future reference and as a matter of courtesy.
THE WHF GENERATION
The proportion of 35 to 54-year-olds living as private tenants has nearly doubled in the 10 years since 2006-07, according to the Family Resources Survey by the Department for Work and Pensions. Forty-somethings are about twice as likely to be renting from a private landlord than they were a decade ago.
This is the #WHF (Working From Home) generation.
Looking at the estimates for employment rates by age band for May to July 2019, the highest were for those aged between 35 and 49 years (85.4%) and the employment rate for those aged 50 to 64 years was 72.7%, a record high.
So, these age groups were more likely to be working and they were more likely to be living in rented accommodation than ever before at the point where the Government advised all but essential and key workers to work from home.
Many of those forced into working from a rented home would struggle more than homeowners to find the right WFH solution due to the lack of flexibility at their disposal.
Malcolm, an IT Project Manager told us, “It’s little things like getting a mobile phone signal. We’re quite rural and there are mobile ‘dead spots’ in our house and, of course, they’re the same places that you’d set up a temporary office – the spare bedroom and the kitchen table. The first fortnight of lock down was spent apologising for missing calls. The best signal is in the garden so having an office there makes sense but as a tenant your options are limited. Any office needed to be demonstrably easily removable in the event of us moving, and actually we’d want to take it with us or sell it on so it’s in our interests that it can be moved without a big fuss.”
Dave and Julie told us about the challenges they’d faced when both had to work from their rented family home. “It was ok at first,” said Dave, “Julie was furloughed quite early, I was working from home and I’d share the kitchen table with the kids and their home schooling. Then Julie was taken off furlough but had to work from home and the kitchen table started to creak under the strain. It would become quite fractious at times – sometimes you need a bit of peace and quiet to concentrate whether that’s on important business spreadsheets or GCSE history. Our levels of production were suffering, and our family was suffering as everyone was getting more testy with each other but we couldn’t move anywhere because there wasn’t really any place to move to in the house. So, we looked outside.”
UNDERSTANDING TO A POINT
“The landlord was understanding and accommodating to a point but also quite restrictive about the type of outside building we could install – it had to be a temporary build but look alright in the garden – the landlord had said “I don’t want a portacabin on the drive”. We looked into ‘office pods’ but they were pretty uninspiring as a workspace and the landlord looked at one brochure and called the products in it - “eyesores”! Plus, we needed a space that could be partitioned. Julie, the kids and I needed to have our own space. It was starting to look like this was too much to ask and then we found your cabins.”
These case studies demonstrate the challenges that are faced by those working from rented homes but also allow us to showcase some of the advantages of a Work From Home Space cabin. We listened to renters and there seemed to be …
SIX KEY NEEDS OF A WORK FROM RENTED HOME SPACE …
1 – Make Them Moveable …
When you install a Work From Home Space cabin on your driveway or patio you’re not lumbered with a permanent build. If you move, you can take it with you or sell it to a new owner who can easily arrange to take it away.
2 – You Want Partitions …
The Work From Home Space cabins can easily be partitioned allowing you to have separate spaces and separate rooms. You could even have a bathroom installed (OK, this would make it slightly more permanent and you should definitely check with your landlord before plumbing in a WC – but the point is the partitioning is of a standard that would allow you to privately use such a facility).
3 – Make It Easy To Order …
One of the benefits of the Work From Home Space range of cabins is that you order based on how many people you need to accommodate. For instance, in the case studies above Dave and Julie are looking at a four-person cabin, whereas Malcolm only needs space for one. This is all you need, no need to overthink measuring the space you imagine you’ll need; we’ve done all that for you.
Dave said, “It was like buying a tent to go camping. You don’t measure up and guess how much space each person will take up then – you buy a two-berth tent or a six-berth tent. This process is as straight forward as that!”
4 – Make Them Inspiring …
We understand what Dave and Julie meant when they said that some of the office pods on the market were uninspiring. We looked at a lot when we created the Work From Home Space range and many of the pods looked like little prison cells. We figured that you wouldn’t do your best work feeling like you’d been placed in solitary confinement so we set out to make the cabins airy, light and feel fit for purpose the moment you step in through the door.
5 – Build Them To Last …
Work From Home Space cabins are British made at our purpose built factory here in the UK. The people who make them have years of experience creating garden rooms. The materials are the best available, the fittings are top quality, in short, your Work From Home Space Cabin is as ready for a hard day’s work as you are!
6 – Make Them Easy On The Eye …
Work From Home Space Cabins are design led, they are both functional and easy on the eye. They are designed to look great and enhance your outdoor space rather than detract from it, soothing those concerns about aesthetics expressed by landlords.
CONCLUSION – CALL NOW
Not surprisingly, 68% of renters still expect to be living in rented accommodation by this time next year, according to a recent survey. That 21% renting privately will be almost a quarter of households (24%) by the end of 2021.
Renting is here to stay.
So, it seems, is the need to work from home.
Fortunately, working from a rented home just got a little easier thanks to Work From Home Space cabins.
Call to find out more on 0115 932 8888.