Those operating from outbuildings rather than standard surroundings are typically found to enjoy an improved work-life balance. The shed brigade have been known to furnish their chosen workspace with anything from gym equipment and flat screen TVs to meeting facilities and kitchens. The study, by digital bank Starling, also found that some business owners have opted for more unique outdoor working spaces, including a barn, caravan and log cabin.
Psychotherapeutic counsellor Katrina Murrell runs her business from her garden shed in Northampton in a move that she says achieves her “parenthood dreams”.
She explained: “All I needed for my practice was me and a room. I had experienced counselling locations during my training. I found them cold, impersonal and expensive.
“With the support of family and very little money, a DIY shed was purchased, built in my garden and kitted out with second-hand furniture. My home-based business has allowed me to flex my working hours and achieve my parenthood dreams.”
The rise in popularity of operating from a shed comes as more people are choosing self-employment and because of the growing emphasis on flexible working.
The report shows that 104,000 micro-businesses and sole traders operate exclusively from a shed and contribute nearly £17billion a year to the UK economy. Such workers spend on average £3,343 on garden workspace but save £8,738 a year on rent, commuting costs and food expenses.
Some of the other benefits that are mentioned include avoiding the anxiety of commuting as well as being able to be with their pets.
Though the biggest benefit of all is getting more peace and quiet, it is not always a case of solitary working. Almost one in five host client or customer meetings in their outbuilding, use them for staff catch-ups or as a venue for new business pitches as well as meetings.
Anne Boden, chief executive and founder of Starling Bank, said: “The growing emphasis on a healthy work-life balance has led to an explosion in people working from their homes.”