Home Office Extension Ideas to Meet Your Home Working Requirements
Need a dedicated space to work from home? Make the best use of space, work more efficiently and enhance your work-life balance with these home office extension ideas.
Homeworking as the new normal
How’s your work-life balance? For many people, home working has shifted from a temporary arrangement to the new normal. It’s a lifestyle that’s likely to be with us for good: in future, you may find yourself putting in a couple of days in the office with the rest of your hours routinely worked from home. Faced with going back to the daily commute, you may even give up working outside the home altogether!
If you’re newly committed to this way of working, it may be time to reassess your home working requirements. While the kitchen table may be OK for a few weeks or months, it’s a different proposition if it becomes your permanent way of life. And if you’re in a household with more than one home worker, it’s especially important to ensure that each of you has the quiet, uncluttered space you need in order to perform at your best.
Why consider an extension?
In some households, there just isn’t the space to sustain a home working lifestyle in the long term. Rather than moving house or renting local office space, a home extension could solve your space issues, letting you create the ideal workspace for your needs. A home extension will:
- Provide the space you need to work comfortably from home
- Allow you to customise your living space, making changes that enhance your day-to-day life
- Add extra value to your home, so you’ll get your investment back when you come to sell
Benefits of creating a work-friendly space
If you’re a full-time worker doing a typical 9 to 5, you’re spending half your waking hours doing your job from Monday to Friday. That’s a big chunk of your life – and without a clear delineation between work and leisure, it’s always tempting to just log on and send one more email, meaning that work is likely to eat up even more of your time. If you possibly can, creating a suitable workspace in your home will help you by:
- Creating a clearer division between your ‘office hours’ and the time after you clock off, so you can relax and enjoy your downtime
- Allowing you to work in a more focused way so that you get more done in your allotted hours
- Projecting a professional image on video calls and making a better impression if clients visit your home office
- Not encroaching into family life – with your own dedicated workspace there’s no need to clear everything away at mealtimes, or when the kids need the table for their homework
Thinking about your home working requirements
Everyone’s home office needs will be different, depending on lots of things including:
- The kind of work you do: do you have a lot of equipment to accommodate, or is it just a question of fitting in a desk and chair?
- How many people are working from home: will you need a double office space, or perhaps two or more separate spaces in different parts of the house?
- Whether you need the space full-time or part-time: could your home office double up as a spare room or a study for the kids, or will you need it just for you?
- Personal working preferences – do you thrive working in a busy open-plan environment, or do you need absolute silence in order to concentrate?
Whatever your needs, there will be some factors that are non-negotiable. For example, at a minimum, you’re likely to need a place to sit and work comfortably at a computer, which is quiet enough to allow for work calls and has enough storage space for basic office supplies.
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How much space do I need for my home office extension?
Some people manage to squeeze home working spaces into really compact areas. For example:
- Using the space under the stairs
- Creating a fold-out desk in the corner of a room
- Introducing a dividing wall or curtain to create your own cubicle
But if you’re planning a home extension, you can afford to think a little bigger. In commercial office spaces, there are rules governing the space allocated to each worker: for each workstation, the Health and Safety Executive stipulates a minimum of five square metres, working out at more than two metres of space in each direction for each person. This is a good rule of thumb for a professional space at home. On top of this, of course, you’ll need to account for any extra storage space needed for filing cabinets and other paraphernalia.
What this means is that even if your extension gives you just one or two extra metres of space added on, it’s likely to make a big difference to the way you’re able to work and live at home.
Ideas for a home office that’s separate from the rest of the home
Many people need a space to work that’s completely cut off from the noise and distraction of the rest of their family. There are several ways to do this:
- Set up office on another floor, in a loft conversion
- Convert an existing outbuilding, such as a garage or garden shed
- Build or repurpose a dedicated room where you’ll work: this could double up as a spare bedroom or act as a purpose-built study
These options are the best ones to consider if you take a lot of calls, use dangerous or messy equipment, or invite clients over to visit you in the office.
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Ideas for an open plan home workspace
You might need more room to physically fit in a proper desk, but prefer a more open-plan arrangement in your home. Or perhaps you’re planning a closed-off office space too, but fancy somewhere to sit and work when you need a change of scene! Here are some options:
- Create a kitchen extension and include a dedicated workspace in one corner
- Knock through your interior walls to reconfigure your existing living space, creating a new work area
- Choose an L-shaped loft conversion so that you have space on your top floor for both a bedroom and a study
What type of extension is best for a home office?
This will depend on the size and layout of your home, as well as the type of office you’re looking to create. If you have a sizeable back garden, a rear extension could be your best bet, while houses without much spare outdoor space might be better served by a loft conversion.
If you opt for a rear extension, you’ll need to think about the balance between indoor and outdoor space. Will you be happy to lose several metres from your garden, or would you prefer to retain as much of your outdoor space as possible? Remember, it’s possible to make a significant difference to your living area with just one or two metres of extra space. You can make a rear extension feel more spacious with lots of natural light.
There are lots of ways to get the best from your rear extension:
- Use the rear extension to create a completely new, separate study area. You’ll get a great view of the garden as you work!
- Extend your existing kitchen and use the extra open space for a workstation.
- Create a two-storey rear extension and benefit from an extra bedroom upstairs, in addition to your ground floor space. This is a great option if you’re looking to sell in the next few years and considering the value an extension will add to your home.
Side return extension
If there’s space going to waste at the side of your house, it makes sense to put it to good use with a side return extension. Many homes have a side alley running to the back of the house that could be better employed as extra interior space. It can be preferable to a rear extension if you want to conserve your back garden and would rather not build on it.
- A side return extension is a great way to create extra space in your kitchen. You could then convert your existing dining room or utility room into a home office.
- If you’re going to work in the side return extension, use skylights to flood the room with natural light.
- Need a lot of extra space? Consider a wrap-around extension that combines a side return extension with a rear extension.
Is your garage space being used to its full potential? A garage conversion could be the perfect place to work from home and benefit from the privacy and seclusion you need.
- Think about how you’ll light your new office. Garages are usually dark and dingy places, so it may be worth spending more to install windows or a glass garden door.
- Still need to park the car? If you have a double garage, a partial garage conversion could offer the best of both worlds, allowing for parking space plus a home office.
- If you want to keep your parking space, an extension on the top of your garage could be an option to consider.
Save your outdoor space and extend upwards with a loft conversion! This is a practical solution that can give you the space you need for home-based working, without encroaching on the rest of the house.
- Put some distance between your work and home life. The daily commute up and down the stairs can offer that vital separation and allow you to focus completely while you’re in ‘work mode’.
- Your new office space can double up as a spare bedroom when not in use. Thinking in the long term, this will be a great selling point if you decide to move; it’ll also remain an asset if and when you stop working from home.
- Perhaps you have a loft conversion already, but you’re feeling cramped. A dormer conversion can give you more loft space (and more headroom) by swapping those sloping ceilings for a box shape.
Take the first steps towards your new home office
Inspired by our home office extension ideas? We can make them a reality! At Abbey Partnerships, we specialise in designing and planning home extensions and loft conversions. We’ll help you plan the perfect space for you, seeing the project all the way through from your initial enquiry to the final unveiling.
Use our home extension service to create a workspace that works for you. Contact us to make an enquiry or book a consultation and we’ll draw up a quote.