With COVID drastically changing work patterns, people have found themselves desperately craving more space at home.
Not only have our homes had to serve as home offices - often for more than one person - but they have also become mini school activity centres, home gyms and even pubs.
This lack of space and privacy is one major drawback to our new multi-use homes, and is one reason for the significant increase in garden room demand.
But a quick Google Search shows that interest in garden rooms was already increasing back in 2011.
Clearly wanting to make better use of the garden isn't a new thing - and neither is wanting to be comfortable.
By design, garden rooms are built for year-round use, but only with air conditioning can an ideal temperature be maintained, whatever the weather.
Like any other room at home, we want to feel comfortable
The rise of garden rooms
According to Google, the peak interest for garden offices over the last 15 years was in June 2020. The obvious reasons being that our homes have suddenly felt more cramped, physically and mentally. Not only is being overcrowded at home uncomfortable, but it can also lead to social withdrawal and stress.
But it's not just garden offices people are looking for. We are currently seeing a rise in garden gyms, garden hobby rooms, garden studios, man-caves and even 'she-sheds'. There is no cut and dry way for a garden room to be used in today's age of wireless technology. As long as you need extra space, a garden room is a perfect fit.
Not only do garden rooms help to solve the big issue of space, but they also help to create a divide between the home and other areas of life. We are now in a time where our home life is entangled with our work and social lives, which is a catalyst for many problems. Whilst a poor home and work divide has been linked to poor mental health, heightened stress and unhappiness, not being able to take personal time away from the home leaves us feeling frustrated and resentful.
There is also the added benefit of bringing us closer to nature. Aside from having to go outside to reach a garden room, modern designs often allow for large windows even on smaller builds, to provide views overlooking the garden.
Contact with nature has long been proposed as a way to achieve relaxation and stress recovery. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, just viewing nature allows the body to ‘rest and digest’, slowing down our heart rate and allowing us to calm down from stress reactions. This has never been more important given that we feel like we need to be in a constant state of alert.
Having access to natural views has also been found to increase creativity, whilst natural lighting itself reduces common office ailments such as headaches, eyestrain and drowsiness, all contributing to a more positive work environment.
Given the ease of installation and flexibility in design and size, garden rooms are a smart idea to create much-needed boundaries between home, work and social life.
The role of air conditioning
Like any other room at home, we want to feel comfortable in our garden rooms. Having air conditioning installed is therefore becoming a popular route to go.
In the normal work office, thermal comfort has the biggest influence on workplace satisfaction. Not only is it linked to greater productivity and performance, but it also improves job satisfaction and perceived wellbeing. One study even found that 89% of employees believed their productivity to reduce if the office temperature wasn’t just right.
The problem with managing thermal comfort in the work office is that it is a very individual preference and therefore impossible to keep everyone happy. But with a garden office, the temperature can be set to your own specific preference meaning you will always be able to work to your best.
And it isn't just garden offices that will benefit from air conditioning.
Garden gyms will quickly heat up when in use, and humidity can become a problem. Not only will this lead to general discomfort, but high humidity levels can also affect productivity, health and encourage mould growth within a building.
But no matter the function, a garden room will simply be avoided if it is just too hot in summer and too cold in winter, so investing in comfort is an important consideration.
The ideal solution
For garden rooms, in particular, making the best use of the space is crucial, which is where our single room M-series range is ideal. Not only can this stylish unit heat and cool all year round, our smart web-enabled controls let you set your ideal temperature for your garden room before you leave the house.
Maintaining a fresh garden room environment with minimal indoor air pollution. Within the M-Series range, the Elegance Series (MSZ-AP) features an Air Purifying filter which removes odours and captures dust and bacteria. The Premium Series (MSZ-LN), however, features a Plasma Quad Plus filter which captures even microscopic particles, achieving extremely high reduction rates in the removal of allergens, mould, bacteria and virus particles.
Looks are equally as important.. There are a variety of colours and designs available across the M-Series range, which is what makes the units such a popular choice for homes and garden rooms.
And for those who are after ease of control, there is Wi-Fi and Amazon Alexa compatibility on several models across the M-Series range. This allows for complete control of your garden room temperature at any time, in any place.
The pandemic forced us to spend more time in our homes, and now we are craving freedom from spaces which have become physically and mentally too cramped.
A lack of space and privacy is strongly linked to our mental health, leading to greater levels of stress, unhappiness and social withdrawal - it’s not something that should be taken lightly.
From a business perspective, Forbes has acknowledged that many employers are planning to permanently shift to remote working, or offer flexible working from home days once COVID has passed. It’s crucial therefore that we begin to consider how we can create better working environments at home which are conducive to productivity and wellbeing.
With this in mind, we’re likely to only see the number of garden room installations increase. Not only are they ideal for creating a healthier balance between home and work life, but they can also provide the personal boundaries that are so important for our mental health. And as these installations increase, it’s crucial that we don’t underestimate the power of comfort in helping us work and live better all year round.
Sharon Oliver is Channel Marketing Manager