Live/work in my shed
'I don't know what goes through my head.
Things in this world make me see red.
But I don't want to spend all day in bed.
I want to live in my shed.'
I’m not sure I actually want to live in my garden office, as Perth-based musician Bob Davidson advocates in his catchy song I'm Gonna Live In My Shed, but I certainly enjoy working in it.
Although ‘shedworking’ as a term is a rather recent turn of phrase, people have been working from buildings in their gardens for centuries. The famous names which have attracted the most attention are artists and writers – Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman, Jeanette Winterson. But nowadays you’re just as likely to find accountants at the bottom of the garden as you are sculptors.
The tide is turning very much towards the welcoming sandy shores of homeworking for many reasons and I welcome that. But there is a difference between a pine kitchen table and a cedar-shingled garden office, a spare bedroom and a spare shed. Commuting to the end of your garden adds an extra dimension to your homeworking experience and is arguably the perfect live-work home solution.
Psychologically, shedworking marks a clear difference between where you live and where you work – there’s no taint of work attached to any part of your home. Instead all the taint is in the shed.
Physically, it’s easier to prevent – or at least restrict – your children, spouses and pets invading your work space if you’re based in a garden office (although admittedly I get more bees in here than I did when I worked in the dining room). Nor is there any need to double up on spaces. With a shed, your third bedroom remains modem free and your dining room table is not deluged by paper. And just as importantly, a shed keeps you away from the fridge so the temptation to nibble is more remote.
Financially, it adds value to your property, up to 5% according to some reports, and is certainly much cheaper than moving house to get an extra room in which to work. It’s also a great place to meet clients: I’ve had several meetings in my garden office and every single visitor has been at the very least intrigued by the arrangements and at the best positively impressed. As an income-generator, it’s certainly better than wifi-ing from the sofa.
And finally, and frankly the clincher for many people, it’s just plain more fun, adding a certain pizzazz to your working life. Forget MySpace, this is me space: decorate it how you like, listen to your music as loud as you like, wear whatever you like. This means you feel happier and work better. As Antonia Swinson commented in The Scotsman: 'Boy, what a difference a shed makes for sheer freedom and creativity.' She’s absolutely right. Go on, live/work in your shed.
Alex Johnson is the editor of The Shed magazine and runs the daily updated Shedworking and Homeworking blog here
You can hear Bob Davidson’s I’m Gonna Live In My Shed here