Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Garden office recommendations

We often get notes of thanks from our garden office customers. I think this one, that arrived a couple of days ago is the best yet: -
"I can say without doubt that I am totally delighted with my new music room/garden office. When I first started looking for a building I almost gave up, because firstly I could not find anything that resembled the quality and specification of a house extension and secondly I could not find a company that would be able to supply a building with limited site access. However InsideOut Buildings were able to fulfil this on both counts.
Planning, dsign and construction were also made easy at every stage.
With the quality of the timber and materials used, along with the excellent workmanship in the building, this project must surpass the quality of many modern house builds.  Along with double thickness roof, floor and wall insulation, plus double glazed windows and door, my building is in the same class as a Scandinavian timber house." Graham Boutell, Byfleet Surrey.
Graham's building is pictured above.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A Natural Oasis

The divide between home and office has been diminishing, with more and more people turning their personal sanctuary into office space. And for good reason: working from home and telecommuting saves a worker the physical commute to work, fuel expenses and time. Flexible working arrangements can also benefit the actual companies themselves - workers are more productive with flexible working hours and a less stressful “life/work” balance results. A home worker furthermore has the opportunity to surround themselves in a positively stimulating natural work environment, instead of a stressful, stuffy, synthetic cubicle.
A Good Work Environment
Your work environment has a profound impact on productivity.  If you have opted to work from home, your office space should not be designated to any old spare corner in the house, so select your work space and conditions appropriately.  Your first consideration should be choosing an area that is relatively free from distraction and noise to enable you to work.
You will also work more efficiently and positively in a bright open space, which filters in plenty of refreshing natural light. Do, however, offset the brightness (which can be overwhelming in summer), with some curtains to minimize glare, and invest in some good table lamps.  A comfortable chair is also a must, as well as the usual office furniture. Your office design should likewise be very practical and organised, maintaining your own professional image and that of the company you represent.
The Garden Office- A Great and Green Working Option
You may actually wish to create an office space in a nature-inspired area full of lush greenery.  Nature can be profoundly calming and help keep stress at bay. Creating a garden office can be a tranquil environment to work in, and can even be detached from your regular home, so you can feel as if you are actually going to work.  A garden office can be a lodge, studio or entire building on its own devoted to your work practices. It can be as lush and green as you wish to make it. Once there, you can choose natural, eco-friendly materials and furniture.  A garden office or studio is like a private cove that is ideal for analysis, thinking, retreat and intense working.
A garden office can be as simple or as elaborate as a person wants to make it.  The important part is retaining its natural atmosphere and essence.  Perhaps you only wish to add a few plants and invest in some eco-friendly bamboo furniture, or maybe you would prefer to invest in a complete greenhouse office and do your part at being economically sustainable.  Solar panels, eco-friendly paint, recycled paper, desks made of environmentally sustainable materials and low energy lights are some features to include in a green office.  Whatever features you decide, your office should be your natural oasis.
Electronic Equipment
As natural as you wish to make your green office, it will still require the electrical essentials necessary for work.  A natural environment is relaxing to work in; a cluttered one is not.  Some of your organizational essentials in any office space, including a green one, are your computer, laptop (if possible, for portability), filing cabinet, desk, telephone, and printer.
Searching for discounts on such equipment is relatively easy PC World discount vouchers can be grouped together for one stop office refurbishment shopping.  In addition to their regular sales, PC World discount codes can make shopping for office supplies economical and practical.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Does Feng Shui really work in garden offices?

I was sent this article by an American on-line degree website. I am always rather cynical about Feng Shui, but the concepts are alluring!

Whether you're using your garden office for paying bills, working at a full-time job from home, or studying, you need a private space that's conducive to productivity, a positive attitude, and organization. You probably already know that clutter and uncomfortable furniture will restrict your ability to focus, but have you ever considered employing the principles and elements of feng shui to improve your garden office? Keep reading for over 40 feng shui tips that will promote efficiency, wealth, good business, and most of all, good energy.
Read more about feng shui in the garden office.
Feng Shui Basics
These basic feng shui principles can be applied to all of your design projects in your office.
  1. Water and wealth: If your house if positioned near water, make sure that your office is located so that the water flows in front of it, which means that wealth will flow towards you.
  2. Have your own room: To promote the best energy and concentration, do not share an office with someone else.
  3. Keep the middle of your office open and clear: The center of the room is known as the 6, 1, 8 star combination and also the "heart of the office." Keep this area open and free from barriers.
  4. Get rid of objects that recall bad memories: Any objects or decorations that remind you of unpleasant memories should be removed because they bring bad energy.
  5. Incorporate all 5 elements of feng shui: These are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water, represented by colors like green and brown, red and orange, light brown and light yellow, white and gray, and blue and black respectively.
  6. Embrace change: The third principle of feng shui is that everything is constantly changing. Don't be afraid of change: instead, acknowledge and even embrace change, and your business will prosper.
  7. Have a separate, outdoor entrance for clients: If you welcome clients to your office, don't greet them by walking them through your home first: this distracts them from business and could hurt your meeting.
  8. Pick a room with good natural lighting and ventilation: A room with higher ceilings should have good lighting and ventilation that will keep you focused and inspired.
  9. Keep front and side areas near the entry way open: Don't let any furniture or decorations obstruct the front and sides of your main door, so that the chi, or energy, can flow freely.
  10. Don't set up your office the center of your home: Your work will dominate your family and personal life if you set up in the middle of the house, and if you work in your bedroom, you may experience more relationship problems and feel drowsy at work.
Furniture and Windows
Learn how to pick and situate furniture and repair windows according to feng shui.
  1. Repair broken windows: Clean windows and repair or repaint them if needed to enhance the flow of chi.
  2. Raise furniture a few inches off the floor: Chi needs to be able to flow all around the room, even under furniture.
  3. Less is more: Don't clutter the room with too much furniture. Less is more.
  4. Maintain three feet of open space between furniture: Avoid bumping into furniture and blocked energy this way.
  5. Promote good conversation: Arrange couches and chairs so that you and your clients can easily talk to each other.
  6. Situate larger furniture eight inches from the wall: This technique adds dimension and keeps energy flowing all around.
Did you know that you can feng shui your desk? Read about it here.
  1. Your computer should be set up in North or West: Those directions inspire the most creativity, but if you're looking to boost income, situate your computer in the Southeast.
  2. Choose a curved, kidney-shaped desk: Rounded corners mean good, natural flow and creativity, and a kidney shape mirrors the shape of the human body, helping you feel aligned.
  3. Get a big enough desk: Your desk should be able to handle all the work you have to do and to support you, so don't skimp on size.
  4. Match the style to the purpose: Depending on what kind of work you do, the style of your desk should match its purpose.
Spacing and Positioning
Spacing and positioning is crucial to feng shui. These tips will help you position yourself, your clients and your furniture for optimum chi flow.
  1. Sit in the farthest corner away from the entrance: This puts you in a power or commanding position.
  2. South area deserves fire images: Use oranges, reds and pinks to decorate the South area, which represents fame and reputation.
  3. Keep your back toward a corner or wall: This position will give you extra support.
  4. Southeast area needs wood elements: Integrate wood elements and colors to the southeast area, which represents prosperity and abundance.
  5. Make sure you can see the door: In a home office, being able to see the door — where your business comes from — is especially important.
  6. Don't face a wall: Directly facing a wall will make you feel like you're in a "dead-end" position.
  7. Keep piles and paperwork hidden: Piles of paper on the floor keep you in the past. Organize papers and piles in cabinets and desk drawers.
  8. Rearrange the office every so often: Every year, or whenever you feel that the energy in your office is draining, rearrange furniture and decorations. Even a few inches makes a big difference.
  9. Situate visual images of goals above your eye line: Deadlines, goals and dreams should be visually symbolized with objects placed above your eye line.
  10. Space clearings: When changing the purpose of a room, moving into a new house, or when someone has recovered from an illness, do a space clearing by thoroughly cleaning the room and making sure all elements are in order.
Good lighting helps you concentrate and can put you in a better mood, so follow these tips.
  1. Avoid fluorescent light: Use warm lights instead to help you feel energized.
  2. Try purple lampshades: Purple lighting indicates wealth.
  3. Use lighting to soften corners: Soft lights in harsh corners will make them appear more relaxed.
Decorating and Accessories
From plants to fish to the right colors, these decorating tips will finish off your feng shui project.
  1. Create a vision board: If you're having trouble accepting the fact that you can reach your goals, create a vision board filled with images, photographs and objects that will inspire you.
  2. Use blue in the North or Southeast: Using blue to decorate the north side of your office will strengthen your career, and when used in the southeast, benefits wealth and prosperity.
  3. Get an aquarium: Give your business potential a boost by bringing an aquarium with black and blue fish to the North area.
  4. Use plants: Plants represent natural, wood elements and help purify the air.
  5. Do not use mirrors: Mirrors let bad energy bounce back and forth between people, taking control away from you.
  6. Avoid clutter: Don't over-decorate: you'll feel emotionally and mentally cluttered if your office has too much stuff.
  7. Mix dream-inducing and logical objects and images: Balance your goals and dreams with more practical, logical objects that help you get down to business.
  8. Balance yin and yang: Always make sure the ratios of light to dark, hard and soft, and rough and smooth are balanced.
  9. Get a bell or doormat: Place these objects in front of the main entryway so that your clients and guests must "announce" themselves before coming in.
  10. Use the bagua map