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By Ed Magnus For Thisismoney. Perhaps it is the distractions created by your family, or the fact that you can't stop helping yourself to the contents of your fridge when it is just a few yards away from you. Or maybe, without your usual commute, you find it hard to switch out of work mode at the end of the day. If you're trying to find a solution to one of these problems - and you have the luxury of a garden - then it might be time to invest in a 'shoffice'.

A shed office structure is allowed if it does not take up more than half of the outside space. With almost a third of the UK workforce now working remotely according to the Office of National Statistics, 'shed offices' - or work spaces built in the garden - have become something of a craze for homeowners.

As the name suggests, they are a cross between an office and garden shed. But these modern super-sheds are a far cry from the moss-covered, cobweb infested, rusty tool stores of the past. In some cases, homeowners are fitting them with every modern convenience, from insulated walls and underfloor heating to high-speed wifi and luxury bathrooms.

As you might imagine, the cost and construction time depends on the type of outbuilding you go for. The cheaper, more basic models are usually around 2. The build time can also vary widely depending on whether you would prefer your shed office to be built from scratch on site, or to purchase a pre-fabricated one which can then be delivered and put together in a matter of days. Typically you won't need to have planning permission, as the majority of garden offices would fall under the scope of what is known as permitted development.

However, within these rules there are certain limitations that it is useful to be aware of. First, the eaves of the building must be no higher than 2. Pre-fabricated shed offices often only take a matter of days to erect once delivered.

Second, the floor area must not exceed 15 square metres - otherwise you will require building control sign-off to show the structure fits within building regulations.

Third, a garden office cannot contain a sleeping area and must not be used as a separate dwelling unit. Fourth, if you need to connect your new workspace to the mains utilities you will need permission from building control.

Finally, it must not take up more than 50 per cent of the outside space surrounding the original house. The original house refers to your property as it was first built, or as it stood on 1 July if it was constructed before that date. This means that you would be wise to check whether your property has been extended by a former owner - in case that compromises the amount of space you can build on.

You can use your garden office as you wish - as long as you don't have a stream of visitors that could disrupt your neighbours and you don't intend to sleep overnight in it. Furthermore, if you live in a national park, a listed building or a conservation area, you will need to seek specific permission from the local planning authority.

One aspect that homeowners might forget to consider is home and contents insurance. Some insurance providers will not offer full cover for items in any outbuildings as part of their standard policy. A homeowner would be wise to check the exact wording of their home insurance policy to understand to what extent they are covered. Improving the saleability of your home is often a key consideration when making improvements. With many predicting home working to be a feature of our lives in a post lockdown world, a garden office can be expected to appeal to buyers in the future.

Not all insurance companies will offer cover for items in the garden or in outbuildings. It is also important to consider whether your new office compromises the existing garden space - this could mean you might put off some future buyers where a larger garden is a priority. It is reasons such as this that make it difficult to conclude whether this home improvement would directly add value to a home.

First and foremost, you'll need to work out what you'll actually be using it for. Next, you'll need to consider the style, design and features that are important for you. The popularity of the Shoffice has been fuelled by the home working trend since March with people looking to move their office out of the house into a completely separate space.

Finally, consider the orientation of your shed office: whether it is north or Garden Office With Side Shed Group south-facing could make an enormous difference to how you design it and use it. Quite often, a garden office will only have windows facing in one direction, because they are typically tucked away at the end of a garden. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use.

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Six steps to take before considering a shed office: Could you turn a corner of your garden into a space fit to work in? What do you find to be the hardest part about working from home? Check out the best available deals here. Current account. Share or comment on this article: Shed office: Six steps to take before taking the plunge e-mail Toggle Search. Comments 78 Share what you think.

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