Sunday, October 31, 2010

Garden inside a garden office



A marvellous new eight-sided garden office with a garden actually inside it from Hummel Blockhaus. It has a tiled roof, double glazing, a 100mm thermal wall and is 5.75m in diameter.
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

How to start building a garden office

You have to start somewhere when you're about to build a garden office and here is the first step taken by Jerry Davison. Nice string.
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Bosses still wary of homeworkers: survey

More depressing news from the flexible working frontier. SME decision makers are still wary of shedworkers and homeworkers and don’t allow them to work from home despite obvious business benefits, according to research carried out online by YouGov, on behalf of NewVoiceMedia.

According to the results, only 23 per cent of the senior decision makers in SMEs allow all their staff to work from home all the time. Of the respondents who don’t allow their employees to work remotely, the main reason cited (85 per cent) was the need for staff to be physically onsite, while 12 per cent admitted that they simply don’t have the technology required to allow home working. Which suggests they haven't really thought about it much.

More disappointingly, 11 per cent of senior decision makers who don’t allow home working stated that it was because they believed their employees would be less productive with five per cent suggesting their staff couldn’t be trusted to do a full day’s work at home. Again, they just haven't read the productivity surveys. Indeed, the same survey's respondents who are in favour of allowing staff to work from home explained they believed it increased productivity (60%), motivated staff (60%) and allowed for better relationships with their employees (58%).

Jonathan Grant, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, says: “At a time when the technology is available and affordable to all SMEs I can’t believe that so many senior people don’t trust their teams enough to let them work from home, or cite technology as the sticking point. Cloud technology has made it possible for businesses of all sizes to implement flexible and scalable telephony solutions that allow staff to work from home and remain accountable."
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Buy Sheds Direct shortlisted for online retailer awards

Buy Sheds Direct is on the shortlist for Retail Website of the Year in this year’s Retail Systems Awards (whose judging panel includes representatives from Tesco and Marks & Spencer) and ‘Retail/E-commerce Website’ in the DADI Awards. Buy Sheds Direct has been trading online since 2005 and the award nominations recognise the company’s achievements in delivering its next generation e-commerce websites under a common Content Management System. Launched early this year, the websites and CMS were specified by the Buy Sheds Direct internal web team and Blue Snapper and designed and built by PureNet.

A key feature of the new CMS is its multi-site capability: the Buy Sheds Direct website and its sister online stores, Buy Fencing Direct and Buy Decking Direct, can now be managed through a common interface. This saves a huge amount of time and the Buy Direct team are able to react quickly to market demand, customer enquiries, product updates and to roll-out its regular product promotions. As a result, the company has seen a big uplift in organic traffic from the search engines, transaction rates and average order values are up considerably and year-on-year revenue growth has been strong.
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Decorating your garden office interior

Norwich artist Sandra Rowney has recently set up a garden studio and has been experimenting painting the walls. Here's what she says: "The walls were painted in a soft sheen emulsion and have an 'orange peel' finish made with a roller. It tries to repel watery acrylic paint and gives some wonderful effects.
Painting on the vertical surface is a challenge but if you work the paint and catch the drips with a rag it can dry as it hits a lower edge and create shadowed edges. I've used my sketching pen and ink first to whizz around the edges of real leaves from the garden writing the name nearby to learn the plant in the process. "
We'd love to see other shedworkers' interior decor. Please do get in touch with your own examples.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Haus pods



Apparently inspired by the story of the Three Little Pigs, here is Alexander Lotersztain's shedlike creation Haus, ideal for indoor shedworking or for when the weather is fine.
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Historic circular Manhattan treehouse saved for posterity


Melinda Hackett's circular cedar treehouse in a Plane tree in Greenwich Village has beaten idiotic neighbours and a completely unnecessary legal battle to win landmark status. The treehouse is five years old and previously owned by musician David Byrne of Talking Heads. Lots more photos and details of the legalities involved at npr.com
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beating burglars in your garden office

We're ignoring the point of law raised by the Wolverhampton judge surrounding a burglary charge covered in the Express & Star and concentrating instead on the interesting shedworking angle to the story. Here's the key section in the report:
Lee Cotterill, aged 23, was arrested shortly after two men broke into a house in Ashmore Park. The victim was in his garden office when he saw two figures moving inside his home. He ran to the patio door and the men fled. Police arrived 10 minutes later. A man – who was later found with Cotterill – has since been jailed for 12 months for the burglary.
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Garden Spaces: ex-show room models bargain sale

Following a restructuring of the Garden Spaces group of companies, they now have two garden studio models for sale at well below half price (£10,000 rather than £25,000). Both buildings are two years old and are currently in Northampton (so more attractive to those who live locally). Contact them directly for more details.
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Wednesday posts are sponsored by The Stable Company®, the UK's premier supplier of garden offices and garden rooms. Click here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Men in Sheds project spreads to Kendal


The Men in Sheds scheme is gathering pace in the UK with the opening of a new site in Kendal run by Age Concern South Lakes. As reported in The Westmorland Gazette, the project is based at Age Concern’s warehouse in StatIon Yard, Kendal and already has more than 20 regular users. Here's a snippet:
One user of the scheme, Colin McDougall, 61, of Endmoor, said: “I have been involved from the start after hearing about it at my local church where I am a handyman. I really enjoy having a workshop to work in as well as meeting new people and pooling our skills.”
Age Concern is looking to expand into other South Lakes areas and is keen to hear from any businesses who could help with premises.
Thanks to Colin Shelbourn for the alert.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

Hummel Blockhaus

Emphasising that working from a garden office is a genuinely global phenomenon, German-based Hummel Blockahus (they also export around Europe) run by Genoveva and Josef Hummel, has a wide range of garden office designs (as well as larger structures). Though designs vary considerably - options include an octagonal garden office and copper roofing - all have fully insulated 'thermal walls', sliding/bifold doors and decent glazing. The site is entirely in German.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Kent Portman

We're very sad to learn via Facebook that Kent Portman has died. Kent was one of the finest and most generous treehouse shedworkers, running his Treehouse Massage business from the branches of a lovely Texan pecan tree in addition to his many other jobs. The treehouse was featured in the Shedworking book for which Kent provided several CDs crammed full of photos and design drawings.

Pigeonnierworking

We've talked about converting pigeon lofts into workable shed spaces previously on Shedworking and here's a rather delightful example from Apartment Therapy of a remodelled 18th century example in Louisiana.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shedworking out: home gym

The beauty of a garden office is that you can mix business with pleasure (or in this recent example from Roomworks, keeping fit). The build doubles as office space with a home gym complete with shower room, underfloor
heating for winter floor work. It's the green way to go to the gym, burning calories not diesel.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Where Earwigs Dare by Matt Harvey

Shedworking is a big fan of the poetry of Matt Harvey and it was an honour to be allowed to include his poem about shedworking 'Where Earwigs Dare' in the Shedworking book. Matt's new book, which contains this and many more delights and is named after this iconic garden office poem, is now available from Green Books and the usual outlets. Strongly recommended.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Peerdrum: helping bosses spy on homeworkers

We had hoped that we were seeing the end of the bad old days when bosses didn't trust their homeworking staff to get on with the job in hand. These managers are the dinosaurs who insist on presenteeism and - despite all survey results to the contrary - secretly believe people who work from home wear pyjamas and watch daytime television all day.

Well, they'll be rubbing their hands with glee with the launch of Peerdrum. This web application takes screenshots every ten minutes and tracks time spent on projects with the aim of 'managing' remote workers' performance. Yes, there's a kind of 'pause' button but let's be honest, if you know your boss is peering over your shoulder then that's not really an option you'll be keen to use very frequently.

And what does it say about the trust within your working relationship? There are many, many great applications out there which are useful for people working remotely on a project to share their work and thoughts. This isn't one of them. However you dress it up, it appears to be a way for bosses to spy on homeworkers and we don't like it. But maybe that's just us - what are your thoughts?
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Calling homeworkers in Kent

Friend of Shedworking the Workhubs Network is on the lookout for garden office-based and home-based businesses in Kent to take part in a survey designed to help Kent County Council improve its support for them.

They want to find out what Kent’s home businesses do, where in the county they are, what they consider the pros and cons of working from home and, specifically, how the county council could do more to help people who, like them, are working from home.
Workhubs Network has put up a link on its website to its (doddle of a) survey and is calling on Kent-based self-employed professionals, freelancers and people running their own companies who are based solely or mainly from home to spare five minutes to complete it.

The survey includes questions on ideas that might (or might not) help people grow their business from home. So for example they’ve asked about planning rules, tax, business support and business/creative networks. They’re also interested to find out what if any demand there is in the country for 'workhubs' and live/work property. Anonymity and data protection is 100% guaranteed. It can be very hard reaching people who regularly work from home as they typically fall below the radar of traditional business networks. Please can you help us to do this by passing on this survey to any friends/contacts you know that run a business from home anywhere in Kent.

Please click here to fill in the survey.
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Dylan Thomas's shedworking view

A lovely photograph by Uncle Wilco at Shedblog of Dylan Thomas's view from his writing shed. Below, more of Wilco's excellent photos of the same spot from previous visits to one of the most famous 'garden office' shedworking spots in the world.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Garden office and recreation room


A rather nice mix of business and pleasure in this new build from Decorated Shed in south west London. It's a 4.2 x 6m garden office and recreation room with an expansive 4m double set of tri-fold doors, positioned at the bottom of the garden and reached by a stepping stone pathway. Already in full daily use as a family area, it is lined with bookshelves, photos and a flat screen television as well as two loungers and footstools.
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Ian Beck: shedworker

London-based illustrator and author Ian Beck works in a garden office which he studiously avoids calling a shed, preferring to describe it as his 'dacha'. He also mentions it regularly on Twitter. Below is an interior shot of the Dacha featuring art from his Peter and the Wolf book which is a firm favourite with the young masters Shedworking.
 

Biblical downpour rattling on the Dacha roof, v cosy, no nicer sound than that big rain rattle when you are safely inside getting on with itless than a minute ago via web



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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zirkuswagen


Leipzig-based Zirkuswagen run by Fabian Krüger offers an alternative to the shepherd's hut or gypsy caravan shedlike working atmosphere with which readers are probably more familiar. The wagons are based on a century-old design and are made entirely of sustainable wood (oak, pine, beech and ash, with Siberian larch cladding) without any metal parts. The roof can either be a tarpaulin or zinc and copper, and windows/skylights are flexibly bespoke. Options include solar power systems and woodburning stoves. The company - which claims to be the only one of its kind in Germany - also undertakes restoration work. The web site is entirely in German.
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Mobile landscape architect's office


When we covered Andreas Stavropoulos's airstream studio earlier in the year we only told half the story of his shedworkingesque lifestyle. Behind his airstream is his cherry-red trailer with wide door/loading ramp and roof-mounted solar panel to power his computer. Inside is a lovely working mobile office. Here's what he says about it:
"The mobile studio is designed to unite the designer with the site. Equipped with a drafting table, small library, solar power, and wifi, the mobile studio doesn’t just sit pretty, but it works hard. This original design and fabrication features an translucent skylight, which allows diffuse light to fully and shadowlessly illuminate the interior. The studio is particularly useful during the concept design stages, when clients are invited inside to provide initial feedback on conceptual design sketches."
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