Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Allotment Chronicles

There must be something in the air as I've just received another book about allotments, The Allotment Chronicles by Steve Poole (with a forward by Terry Walton, the allotment chap ono Jeremy Vine's BBC Radio 2 show). It's essentially a history of the allotment, concentrating particularly on the early years and you can read more about it at Silver Link Publishing's site here. Sheds don't make much of an appearance but I know many homeworkers are keen allotmenteers too.

Working in woodland sheds - part 2

[from Smallwoods magazine - see earlier post for details]

"Julian Evans has written about planning in his book Badgers, Beeches and Blisters, summarising his experiences as he's found some variation among planning authorities. 'What you can do in your wood by way of accommodation is camp there or site a caravan for up to 28 days,' he writes. Permitted development also includes a secure tool shed, provided it is sited well away from a highway, but even here one needs to be a little careful. A shed must be a shed - a small hut with no windows and a lot of cobwebs - not something that can double up as a summerhouse or a modest chalet!"

Suppliers updated

Some more garden office/shed suppliers which I've come across.

Gem Build
Eco Space Studios
The Qube

As always, links to their sites will also feature in the right hand column and I'll review them in more detail soon.

Monday, October 30, 2006

What homeworking is really all about...

Choosing a shed – treehouse garden offices

On a related theme, this week we look at the ultimate home office environment, the treehouse shed. And all you need is a good strong tree, preferably one with deep roots such as an oak, chestnut or apple rather than shallower ones such as sycamore. Treesheds themselves are usually built of more modest woods including Radiata Pine, and Canadian or Scandinavian Redwood.

An office with a view - and you do get a marvellous view - is not cheap and a good-sized one from leading supplier The Treehouse Company could set you back £40,000. Founder John Harris has built all sorts, even with what must be quite a worrying extra, log burning stoves. You’ll pay a similar price for a treeshed from specialists Blue Forest whose work is pictured above, but it does come with heating, lighting, broadband and phone lines, and a small kitchen. It also has a veranda for those Hemingway moments.

You can of course selfbuild if you’re feeling confident, but remember that while the views are better the higher you place your treeshed, the wind speed is greater too so working in a storm could be a bit hairy. For some practical pointers there is some useful information online at The Treehouse Guide.

If a treeshed is not a realistic possibility, you could always settle for a laptop in a hammock.

Working in woodland sheds

Not all shedworkers are bashing away at a computer keyboard in their back gardens. Smallwoods, the quarterly magazine from the marvellous Smallwoods Association, has an interesting feature in the new autumn issue on planning permission for sheds in woodland. Sadly, it’s not online so I’ve extracted the most relevant sections. To prevent this being an unreadably long post – and to add a frisson of excitement – I’ll post in several parts every day this week.

“Denny Herzenstein has restored a pond in his woodland. ‘You do need planning permission to create a new pond but not to restore one that already exists. You are not allowed to erect any building in your woodland (even a small tool shed) without first notifying the local council’

“Denny’s woodland is semi-natural ancient woodland within a designated AONB. He restored a pond that had been neglected for very many years and erected a 6x8ft tool shed (which he thought was well hidden) without first notifying the local council. It wasn’t long before the council discovered the developments and told him he would have to apply for retrospective planning permission for both…

“‘Under the Town & Country Planning Permitted Development Order 1995 it is possible to erect a building that is ‘reasonably necessary’ for forestry, e.g. a tool store without planning permission, as long as certain conditions are met. However you must still apply in writing to the council prior to the development giving full details of your proposal, and the council may impose a requirement to approve the specific siting, design, materials, external appearance, etc, before allowing the development to begin.

“‘It did seem somewhat absurd completing a detailed planning application for a small garden shed hidden deep in a wood, far from any public view and bolted simply onto sleepers lying on the ground. The application has to show the design from every elevation; it’s precise location in the wood (including a scale drawing that goes all the way to the public road – several hundred metres away in my case); and a scale drawing of the whole wood that is supposed to show every tree! Obviously not possible , but I did as best I could!’

“The council have granted Denny Herzenstein a temporary five-year permission. They will not grant more for a building that is considered a temporary structure, and the permission is only valid while Denny owns the land.”

To be continued tomorrow…

Monday, October 23, 2006

Do it yourself shed blog

If you’d like to work in a shed but would rather go down the self-build route, and in particular want to make it environmentally friendly, take a look at an interesting new blog at Shedhead. I’ll be reporting back on its progress over the coming months as will The Shed magazine.

Most shedworkers buy their home office from a specialist company and only a few brave individuals build their own. But there is a third way. US-based Cedarshed Industries has launched the first home office flatpack kit, rather understatedly called the Ultimate Backyard Office. It measures 10’x12’ and comes with a smashing 9’x9’ deck and pre-shingled roof panels, pre-hung PVC Euroline doors and windows, and all the necessary bits and bobs including fairly detailed instructions. The free-standing shed, which costs around £8,000, is made of western red cedar and can be assembled in a day, though you’ll probably wonder why you still have two slats and eight screws left over. For more details go to their web site here.

This is the last post this week as I’ll be out of the country at the First International Conference of Shedworkers in Valencia until next Monday. Hasta pronto!

New magazine for homeworkers

Those enterprising people at Enterprise Nation are launching a new quarterly magazine for homeworkers in November. To register for a free copy, go to their site online and fill in a very easy form. If their web site is anything to go by, it should be well worth signing up for and should you need further encouragement each issue will also feature an unmissable column about sheds and homeworking by, well, modesty forbids…

Teleworker – new and mildly revamped

If you haven’t come across it already, the Telework Association is a membership organisation providing all kinds of homeworking info, a bimonthly magazine, a weekly jobs bulletin and The Teleworking Handbook which is a good read. The association has been undergoing something of a transition this year and is now collaborating closely with the Future Work Forum at Henley Management College. The latest magazine just out shows that the commitment to homeworking is as keen as ever though for my liking it could be a little jollier.

Homeworking lures over-50s

There’s an interesting article about babyboomer homeworking by Emma Jones from Enterprise Nation in the newly relaunched Active Life magazine for the over-50s. As well as looking at this important growing trend, it also includes slightly unusual details of shedworking as the excerpt below shows:

Nick Hopewell-Smith, chairman of Henley Offices, a leading supplier of garden buildings, says the company has many customers over 50. “We have semi-retired people who need an office, whose spouses will never sanction their work cluttering up the house. This includes people with hobbies, and we have people who use their Henleys as studios for all kinds of arts and crafts that they take up in retirement.

“One of my favourite Henley office applications is the retired CEO of one of Britain's biggest companies, who has one of our buildings in the garden of his holiday home in Cornwall. He and his wife were fed up with having friends to stay who, because they were always in the middle of business deals and crises of one kind or another, inadvertently ruined the holiday break for everyone else with their mobiles, laptops, faxes and suchlike. Broadband, fax and computer equipped, their 'holiday home Henley' is primarily for the use of guests, who are obliged to use it for their work before rejoining the group in the main house. Typically Henley customers buy our buildings because they need peace and quiet away from the every day distractions of their home environment. In this case, those using the home are seeking peace and quiet from the disruptions of business.”

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Suppliers updated

Thanks to an anonymous poster, I've updated the suppliers' section on the right hand side to include iscape. I'll look at them in more depth next week.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fantasy shedworking

An unusual piece by Rachel Johnson (no relation), author of the recent novel Notting Hell in the latest issue of The Spectator. Unless you have a subscription you can only see the first few paragraphs online here.

"I have steamy, wild fantasies about garden sheds," she says. "So I spend a lot of time online, comparing shed with shed...I know all there is to know about timber preservatives, level solid bases, insulation, mildew resistant finishes, trickle vents, downlighters, power points, ultraviolet absorbing coatings, weatherproofing and broadband access. But nothing I see in catalogues or on websites looks like my shed. In my mind’s eye, my garden shed will look a bit like the potting shed from The Secret Garden. Rustically painted a duck-egg grey-blue shade, with peeling tongue-and-groove panelling, it will have a peaked roof and leaded-paned windows to let in the sun.

"The floor will be wide oak planks, covered with kilims. As no one will be allowed to enter, I can do as I please. I will sit at the desk I bought from Samantha Cameron’s mother (i.e., the campaign desk from Oka) and will invest in a hideous chair for my poor back. I might even buy one of those furry, plug-in footwarmers for my extremities. I will have a kettle, filing cabinets, and photographs of the children, iPod speakers, a Roberts radio, and a steady supply of Green & Black’s chocolate. Coco, my dog, will be the only family member who will have freedom of my shed, apart from me."

She then goes on to say she has yet to find this fantasy shed. "The sheds I see online are all roughly constructed out of orangey-pine and look like doll’s chalets, with horrible black cladding on the roofs and blank-faced, plasticky windows, that look as if they should be toll booths or housing hot tubs or a kennel for Alsatians, or some other grim purpose."

I'm not sure where she's been looking - this doesn't sound like my garden office shed at all - so obviously I've been in touch with her and suggested she contact some of the suppliers in the list in the right hand column.

Music While You Work - light music

Rather than any single piece of music, this week I'm recommending that you give a whole genre a try, light music. It's hard to pin it down exactly, but essentially it's quite jolly, jaunty music, on the easy listening side of classical - think the theme tune to Desert Island Discs (By the Sleepy Lagoon by one of the kings of light music, Eric Coates). It's perfect for a Friday.

Go here to download free one of the most famous pieces of light music, Jumping Bean, by another of its leading lights, Robert Farnon. Or you can also listen to Brian Kay's Light Programme every Thursday afternoon on BBC3 or for a week after on its Listen Again player.

Videoconferencing - we'll all be at it soon

Peter Thomson, Director of the Future Work Forum at Henley Management College which he founded in 1992, has a new blog called Future for Work which is worth keeping an eye on.

His latest post looks at videoconferencing and suggests that we'll all be using video calls/meeting by 2011. He also says:

"It is often assumed that you have to invest in thousands of pounds of kit in order to use videoconferencing and then have dedicated ISDN lines. However, today I've seen a demonstration of a video meeting using broadband/internet connections with four people happily participating. This was based on Microsoft's Livemeeting so it had whiteboarding and application sharing and it was combined with Arel anywhere video software. The clever thing about this setup was that the user just needs a PC, webcam and to download two small pieces of software. They can then log in to the servers (one button operation from Outlook) and use the meeting room. As with a physical meeting room it has to be booked and costs £50 per hour which is comparable to the cost of renting meeting space for a face to face meeting. Or for £6k per year you can have your own meeting room available whenever you wish."

Invisibility shed

If, for whatever reason, you've ever wanted to make your shed invisible, then you don't have long to wait. According to an article in The Guardian today, scientists claim they can now make objects effectively disappear using what they describe as an "invisibility shed". Key excerpts below:

'The device works on the principle that an object vanishes from sight if light rays striking it are not reflected as usual, but forced to flow around it and carry on, as if it was not there. To make cloaks, scientists developed "metamaterials", meticulously patterned thin metal sheets that can bend light in precisely the right way. In the demonstration, scientists showed that a small object surrounded by rings of metamaterials in effect disappeared.

'The test involved firing a beam of microwaves at the object, the same radiation used for radar. Normally the beam would penetrate and bounce off the rings, but measurements showed the waves split and flowed around the centre. "The wave's movement is similar to river water flowing around a smooth rock," said David Schurig, a scientist at Duke University who helped conduct the experiments.

'Sir John Pendry, the theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, who developed the idea, said cloaking devices to hide vehicles from radar were only a matter of years away. "It's already been quite an achievement designing this cloak, but next we want to develop a thin skin that can cloak a plane without interfering with the aerodynamics. If you wanted to cloak something big and clunky like a tank, that's feasible in the medium term," he said.

'A cloaking device that makes objects invisible to the eye is a tougher prospect. Radar waves are about 3cm long and to cloak objects from them, metamaterials need to be designed with features a few millimetres across. Visible light waves are far shorter - less than one thousandth of a millimetre - meaning a cloaking device would need metamaterials with much finer features to bend light properly.

'"It's not yet clear that you're going to get the invisibility that everyone thinks about with Harry Potter's cloak or the Star Trek cloaking device," said David Smith, who led the experiments at Duke University. While scientists have high hopes for invisibility devices, they are less optimistic they will ever be able to challenge Harry Potter's stealth garment. "Our device is more an invisibility shed than an invisibility cloak," said Prof Pendry.'

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Personal habits...

I've only just come across this survey of homeworkers' personal habits. As well as the usual kind of statistics (76% of employees surveyed believe that working remotely is an aid to productivity, etc), there are these much more interesting ones:

"While about 39% of respondents of both sexes said they wear sweats while working from home, 12% of males and 7% of females wear nothing at all. In matters of cleanliness, the difference between the sexes was more pointed: 44% of women surveyed said they showered on work-at-home days, as opposed to men, who were slightly more likely to shave (33%) than wash (30%). 18% of men regularly break off to do household tasks such as laundry, dishwashing or dusting whereas many more women - over 38% - found their attention claimed by chores.

"Respondents also said they took the opportunity to eat and drink outside standard times (about 35%); listen to music (45%) or watch TV (28%); and 21% of all respondents admitted to sneaking in an afternoon nap. A small percentage of those surveyed (9%) admitted to feelings of guilt about being away from the office. Taking a longer lunch than at the workplace was also relatively rare (12%)."

The survey was carried out in the USA but I suspect it rings many bells for UK homeworkers and shedworkers too...

Homeworking on the front cover

The cover story of the new issue of Computing Business focuses on the best ways of making your shedworking and homeworking a happy experience. It also includes a case study of how the AA is making the most of homeworking, the HR perspective at BT, and a psychologist's view of the whole industry. There's nothing earthshatteringly new, though for those thinking of taking the homeworking plunge it's a nice introduction. I was interested however by these comments:

"Although people work from home, the AA tries to pick groups of people in one area, so that they can meet up for meetings and to socialise."

"However, the AA has learned that the kind of work people want to do at home differs from in a call centre. The company mistakenly thought that it would make sense to give home workers the simpler tasks to perform, but experience has proven otherwise. ‘The natural reaction is to make it as simple as possible, but the opposite is true. Emergency breakdown is straightforward, but what they wanted was a variety of calls, so we have given them administration and membership enquiries,’ says Martin Sawkins, HR director at the AA."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Choosing a shed - Hut

Hut Timber Buildings have been around since 2003 and offer three different types of garden office shed; The Big Hut which comes with a one metre deck; The Small Hut, designed for one shedworker; and a bespoke service. Hut also offers a self-build option which is considerably cheaper - for example a Small Hut comes in at £6,800 + VAT while the self-build option is £5,000 + VAT. The web site is nicely put together, with plenty of attractive examples of the sheds in situ and a good downloads section with plenty of photographs and building plans with elevations and dimensions clearly shown.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

New mums are the new homeworkers

Britain’s new mums are becoming an entrepreneurial force to be reckoned with according to a new report from AXA. It claims that more than one-in-three (34%) of what it cheesily calls ‘mumtrepreneurs’ are looking at starting their own business from home so they can combine child care and work.

The survey of 1,354 new and expectant mums found that on average they are generating £467.91 per month from home-based business ventures, around £5,614 a year.

More than a third of the women said they currently work from home or are looking to work from home, spending an average of 18.4 hours a week on these money making activities, equivalent to around 2.5 days in an average 9am – 5pm office environment.

An additional 21% of women polled said they are actively considering retraining or using existing craft based skills to earn money from home, with 10% saying they would consider re-training or using existing heath/holistic therapy skills to earn an income while working from home.

And 25% saying they would consider returning to their previous job if they could work remotely from a home office.

For more details go here.

Third Space etiquette

Following the post earlier this month about Third Space working, USA Today has a jolly article about etiquette for this kind of teleworking in caf├ęs. They suggest:

* Tip big and eat often. Think of those hourly lattes or scones as rent for your table, payment of which is critical for the survival of any business welcoming busy squatters.
* Take it outside. Keep cellphones and PDAs on vibrate, and when they do buzz, head straight for the door.
* Don’t be a hog. It’s fine to keep your things piled on a table when you step out for a breath of fresh air, but not if you plan to be away a while.
* Careful who you trust. Because thieves and hackers work fast, take important hardware and documents with you for anything but a quick run to the sugar-and-napkin station.
* Keep your eyes to yourself. Resist the temptation to sneak a look at neighboring laptops with this crowd, it’s considered as egregious as stealing company secrets.
* Cords get right of way. All electrical outlets are fair game, so expect to accommodate the odd power chord as it snakes past your dominion.
* Look for the high sign. Even though mere inches can separate you from a fellow teleworker, realize that only when both parties issue a mutual greeting is it OK to invade those invisible offices.

I'd include a link to the original article but it takes about an hour to open.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Back to the land

There’s always been a strong connection between sheds and allotments/small-scale agriculture. Two interesting articles over the weekend on this subject. First, the always very readable Antonia Swinson in her regular column in The Scotsman ruminates from the shed on her allotment about the nature of communities. You can read the full piece here. And in The Independent on Sunday Skye Gyngell discusses how she turned a garden-nursery shed in south-west London into the innovative restaurant Petersham Nurseries. Both have books out this month: A Year In My Kitchen by Skye Gyngell is published by Quadrille at £25 and Antonia Swinson’s You Are What You Grow: Life, Land & the Pursuit of Happiness available from Luath Press at £9.99 will be reviewed in the November issue of The Shed magazine.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Complete list of garden office/shed suppliers

Choosing which garden office/shed is the right one for you is a tricky decision. There are now dozens of suppliers on the market but until now there's been no central point which offers a list of who exactly is out there. I've now added all the suppliers I can track down in the left hand column but please do let me know if there are any more you know about. Being mentioned on this list shouldn't be seen in any way as a recommendation - it's just a recognition of their existence. But every week over the coming 12 months I'll focus a little more on each one in turn which might narrow the choice down a little.

While they all offer their own wonderfully unique product, they are, essentially, sheds in back gardens. We'll be featuring more unusual possibilities on this site and also in The Shed magazine (if you don't already receive a copy email the editor by clicking here and he'll send you a free pdf copy).

Green is good

Following yesterday’s post, if you need more convincing about the importance of making your home office space pleasant, have a wander around Plants for People or Plants in Buildings. There’s plenty of research indicating that shedworkers who sit at a desk for more than four hours a day feel happier and work more productively if they’re sharing a space with a plant or two. In fact it’s claimed that just looking at plants reduces work stress because if you’re surrounded by greenery you tend to feel less isolated. Also, indoor plants can reduce tiredness and colds by a third. Indeed, a view of greenery has been found to speed up hospital patients’ recovery times.

Choosing a shed – Henley

Henley Offices is one of the oldest firms specialising in garden office ‘sheds’, their main range offering a kind of gypsy caravan feel. There are seven different models to choose from including the double-door HomeSpace Orwell with its monopitch roofline (pictured – this one belongs to a London garden designer). Henley has a particular impressive 100-page web site which as well as providing full details about their products and stockists nationwide also covers many more general issues about the benefits of shedworking and homeworking which are particularly useful if you’re still at the ‘trying to make your mind up’ stage.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mind calls for flexible working environments

An interesting report from mental health charity Mind has just been published. 'Building solutions: improving office environments' suggests that workplace stress is the second biggest occupational health problem in the UK and the office environment is a key factor. Researchers found that of the people interviewed:

26 per cent thought conditions in their office had negatively affected their mental health
22 per cent had formally complained about their office environment
42 per cent were dissatisfied with the temperature in their office
27 per cent were unhappy with the amount of natural light
27 per cent were also unhappy with the amount of working space they have

This comes on top of other studies which have, unsurprisingly, shown that workers in less pleasant environments get less work done and indeed the last issue of The Shed magazine looked at the importance of plants in the home office environment.

Mind chief executive, Paul Farmer, said: "Dilbert-type cubicles won’t cut it in the information economy. To maximise productivity and creativity, it’s crucial that staff have inspiring, flexible work environments. Everyone thinks of health and safety as a physical thing – we mustn’t forget health and safety for our minds."

No more ISPs for homeworkers?

Victor Keegan writing in The Guardian today gives the thumbs up to Norfolk County Council's experiment with free wi-fi which has now been going a couple of months with the backing of the East of England Development Agency (£1.1m) and is soon to be extended beyond Norwich to 22 villages. He also discusses the possibility that if this system is rolled out around the country it could spell the end of conventional ISPs and also pose serious problems to mobile phone companies. The complete article is here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Historic 'garden offices'

It’s good to be reminded that while the ‘garden office’ is essentially a 21st century creation, people have been working in sheds for centuries. The National Trust has several interesting examples at its properties, including Agatha Christie’s potting shed, three stylishly upturned boats on a titchy Gertrude Jekyll-designed garden in Northumberland, and at Tyntesfield in Somerset a shed where Victorian gardeners used to sleep in bunks over their workbenches. These and others are now featured on the NT site here.

However, one of my favourite sheds is not included, the writing hut of George Bernard Shaw at the NT’s Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence, Hertfordshire (pictured). Hidden away at the bottom of the garden, it not only had an electric heater, but could be rotated to catch the sunlight or just change the view. Modern garden office designers take note.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Music while you work - Sting/Dowland

The homeworking world is divided. Those who work in sheds and those still in the dining room. Those who work in suits and those who prefer pyjamas. And of course, those who listen to music while they work and those who work in silence. In 1940 the BBC came up with a cunning wartime plan to up productivity. Music While You Work (its marvellous theme tune by Eric Coates was called Calling All Workers) was a non-stop medley of popular tunes which ran until the Light Programme bit the dust in 1967.

Of course the music was strictly monitored. Nothing lethargic or unmelodic was allowed. Slow waltzes were banned for what the BBC called “soporific tendencies". Conversely, ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ also got the chop because its main clapping motif apparently was encouraging anybody working with a hammer to smash their workbench to bits. The BBC’s plan was to vary the tempo as little as possible, or as the kindly broadcaster put it: “The aim is to produce something which is monotonous and repetitive. Subtlety of any kind is out of place."

Each week I’ll recommend a selection of music while you work. My first suggestion is the work of 16th century songwriter John Dowland. Dowland has a reputation for being rather melancholy, a Morrissey with a lute, but his music remains extremely popular today with recordings by major artists including Alfred Deller, Emma Kirkby and most recently the pop star Sting.

Sting’s new album of Dowland songs, Songs From The Labyrinth, has just been released on Deutsche Grammophon. It’s a marvellous recording and I’d heartily recommend it, especially if you’ve never listened to early music before. His performance of Can She Excuse My Wrongs is particularly good. Before Sunday you can hear an interesting interview and concert he gave at St Luke's in London last week with lute player Edin Karamazov broadcast by the BBC or you can go to DG’s site for some nice clips via their e-player.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The shed or Thailand?

Where would you rather be? Just received the following press release via the folk at Tell Tale Travel.

This winter, why not shut your shed and visit Thailand in Bloom instead?

This November sees the grand opening of the most beautiful international horticultural show ever staged in Thailand. Called 'Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006', this vast expo is being built in honour of the King of Thailand and features 2.5 million plants and flowers, a pavilion displaying over 50,000 orchids and 30 international show gardens from countries such
as China and Japan.

Tell Tale Travel, the authentic travel specialists, has created a unique two-week private tour called Thailand in Bloom' to help garden-lovers get the most out of this memorable event. Instead of getting lost in the crowds or rushed around in a tour group, visitors can enjoy this spectacular show in the company of knowledgeable local plant-lovers who will share their enthusiasm - and the odd gardening tip no doubt! You can choose from orchid-lovers to fern-fanatics to be your guides and make sure you have plenty of tales to tell when you get home.

The itinerary also includes visits to other horticultural hot spots like a mountainside wildlife sanctuary and a lush, hillside eco-village as well as orchid farms, botanical gardens and charming private gardens. There is even time to relax and enjoy an informal Thai cookery lesson - as with all Tell Tale Travel trips, everything is tailor-made.

Third Place not Third Choice

For traditional workers there’s the office, there’s the home, and somewhere inbetween there’s often now a Third Place. The concept of the Third Place was coined in 1989 by Ray Oldenburg who saw it more as somewhere where people could get together socially, like a club, but it’s now increasingly being used to describe a location which is a mixture of second office and second home, a kind of teleworking sitting room.

While it’s a reasonably familiar idea in the US where it’s thought around 30 million people spend a significant amount of time working outside their main office (read more about it here, the idea hasn't really caught on over here yet in a big way.

Among those pushing the idea is, unsurprisingly, Starbucks which incorporates the phrase in its marketing bumph. However with greater numbers of shedworkers and homeworkers operating a wi-fi network at home, increasing numbers of hotspots around the country and companies such as BT bundling in ‘free’ Openzone minutes at hotspots as part of their Total Broadband package, we should expect the media to start talking about it soon (‘Third Place is the new homeworking’ kind of thing).

Friday, October 06, 2006

Loneliness or solitude?

When homeworking is mentioned in the media, one of the major drawbacks always highlighted is the possible feeling of isolation. I've never found this to be a problem and it's good to see that I'm not alone. Artist Cathy Lomax writing in The Guardian says that:
"One of the main things I love about being in my studio is the solitude. When I shut the door, it is just me and all the various things that I have here, and I can do what I like...I really enjoy being by myself - although I do like having a bit of background noise, such as the radio."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Home Office of the Month competition

The excellent homeworking web site Enterprise Nation is running a Home Office of the Month competition. Simply email the nicest possible pic of your homeworking atmosphere to Enterprise Nation and you could win a Brother all-in-one superduper printer (which also scans, copies, faxes and makes your coffee), plus ink and paper.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Choosing a shed - Rooms Outdoor

If you're making the leap from working on a dining room table or a bedroom into buying a garden office/shed, choosing the perfect fit is a problem. Every week I'll be profiling a different supplier to at least show the vast range that's out there. This week Rooms Outdoor sent me some images of their range. They look good, towards the more 'designed' end of the market and are 'proper' structures with foundations (which may of course make planning permission a little dodgier since this means they cannot be described as temporary structures). Their Solo model, pictured here, is the one aimed at homeworkers, but the Moderno and Cuberno look nice too.