Rooms with views: Roundpeg making the office a better place
Merging nature and the workplace has been hailed in recent years for maximising productivity and boosting workers’ mental health.
So much so, that bringing the outside indoors into large office spaces is a tactic that has been used effectively by huge brands such as Amazon, Microsoft and Timberland.
Now, this alternative way of working has crept out of normal workplace settings and is on the rise after being deployed in gardens around the country too.
Garden rooms are now being increasingly used by remote and flexible workers to slash commuting costs and improve work-life balance by moving workspaces out of domestic environments and into natural outdoor oases instead.
They’re also proving a huge hit with the self-employed, who are using them to launch independent ventures, ranging from an architect's office to a dog grooming parlour, and have also started to feature on property shows like Location, Location, Location.
The current pandemic has also demonstrated how working home has become an unforeseen necessity for extended periods of time.
And some lockdown surveys are even going so far as to suggest that huge numbers of people are hoping they will be able to work remotely more in the future.
Among those who have witnessed and embraced the growing trend for outdoor work spaces are friends Sallyann Smith, aged 54, and Adam Timmis, 36, from Rugeley.
After many years working in the industry, they made the brave leap to go it alone and set up Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings, an independent manufacturer of garden buildings - just a few weeks before the UK went into lockdown.
It’s a perfect working relationship with Sally focused on customer services while Adam is hands-on creating eco-friendly and bespoke buildings to meet customers’ bespoke requirements - from the initial design and base work, all the way through to the interior design.
Adam has years of experience in the manufacture of timber and is also keen to “recycle” and “up-cycle” waste products, even making his own man cave from off cuts and waste materials.
As well as being committed to minimising waste and recycling, they also vow to use sustainable products, where possible, and keep their carbon footprint to a minimum.
Sally has had 15 years’ experience within the trade, learning every aspect of buying, manufacturing, selling and the fitting of garden buildings,
And they've found their services have been in demand as they receive orders for garden buildings and fulfil them following social distancing rules.
“Garden offices have become increasingly more fashionable in recent years as a new, alternative, better way of working, as people try to redress their work-life balance," says director Adam, who has worked in the industry for 15 years.
“The benefits of getting back to nature have been extensively documented with proximity to natural light, natural views and better air quality all helping improve mental health and well-being as well as productivity.
“Multi-national companies have seen the benefit of creating botanical spaces for employees and it’s perfect for the self-employed to keep costs down and profits up too.
“With a garden room there’s no need to worry about converting a room of your home, or spending hours in traffic or racing to get onto public transport to get to and from jobs.
“Life is fast-paced and busy. To make the hard work worthwhile I think we all appreciate, now more than ever, the importance of spending quality time with family and friends.
“So, what better than at the end of the working day to just close your garden office behind you and take that short walk into the house to relax with those we care for," adds the father-of-two, who also offers standard sized timber outbuildings and sheds.
Adam’s wife Donna is just one of the many people to launch a new business, Metamorphosis Nail and Beauty salon, from a garden room after 10 years of working in a salon in Armitage.
She said: "For me the benefits are two fold, as in financial and personal. There is no rent to pay each month which is a huge outlay when you are self-employed and need a premises in which to operate, and due to it wooden properties the salon doesn't take long to warm up and it stays warm meaning fuel bills are low. There are also no travelling expenses.
"It feels more personal for clients, well it will when I am is allowed to work again, there will be no interruptions from other staff and customers, the space and time is dedicated 100 per cent to the client at the time, it is also nice for clients to be able to enjoy sitting in a garden environment whilst their treatment is taking place rather than a room in a salon.
"It is going to be a lot more helpful for family life as with two young children and a husband who is also creating a new business, time is one thing we need and any opportunity to spend more time together is a bonus."
Other customers, from across the West Midlands,and further afield, have created hobby rooms, bars and gyms in their garden rooms to enjoy more of what they love without leaving their homes. Roundpeg Outdoor Buildings’ manufacturing base is in Fauld, near Barton-Under-Needwood.
Fellow director, Sallyann, who also has 15 years’ experience within the industry, says that while lockdown had made Roundpeg’s launch harder, expansion could be on the cards if business growth continues, including creating new jobs.
“We’re now getting more and more orders and are starting to think about looking for staff," says the mother-of-two.
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