Equity release to fund garden offices
22 July 2020
How we adapted to working from home overnight
When lockdown came into effect on March 23rd, companies across the UK scrambled to find ways to continue operating remotely. The number of daily Zoom meeting participants rocketed from 10 milllion in December 2019 to more than 300 million by April 2020, you couldn’t buy a laptop for love nor money and cyber security and IT experts worked round the clock to find technology solutions for a business landscape that changed overnight.
We’re all Zoom afficionados now, expert at breakout rooms, muting ourselves so our colleagues don’t hear our personal WhatsApp pings coming in during our very important meetings and even recording loops of ourselves nodding and making occasional empathetic grunts so we can appear to be present in a meeting when we’re actually taking our daily exercise (true story!).
Working from home: here to stay
It’s just as well that we’re so adaptable, as office working is unlikely to return in quite the same way that it prevailed before lockdown:
- many people will have health reasons to want to continue to work from home
- many companies don’t want to make staff endure long commutes in potentially unsafe conditions
- many more people are likely to want to continue with a more blended working structure, combining some office working with more regular working from home, to get the best of both worlds: some social contact in the office, with the work-life benefits of less commuting.
These trends are being anticipated around the globe. Savill’s Residential Global Market Sentiment Survey, May 2020, found that of the estate agents they questioned:
- 86% expect an increase in homeworking post Covid-19
- 75% believe that demand for home offices will increase
- 83% believe that good WiFi will be a priority for buyers going forwards
The challenges of working from home without a dedicated office
While working from home is likely to remain a significant feature of our new work landscape, the reality is that many of us have had to cobble together make-do-and-mend home office solutions, including trying to work on the sofa, standing up at the ironing board or tucked in a closet, as a viral post about the challenges of the new normal revealed. Add to that the challenges of trying to home school children – with the kitchen table becoming the dining table, study, school library, technology centre, beauty bar and craft centre – and working from home for many of us has been far from a lifestyle dream.
If that sounds familiar for you – or your adult children – you may have dreamt of a garden office to which you could retreat, to enable you to work effectively without the distractions of home getting in the way and to create a distinction between your professional and personal life. If so, you’re not alone: the UK’s domestic garden buildings market was calculated as being worth £110 million a year as far back as 2015 and was already predicted to grow 12% between 2018 and 2022, even before coronavirus came along.
How equity release could help you finance your dream garden office
Of course, none of us predicted the coronavirus crisis – and how it would upturn our lives – so a garden office may not be something you had been planning for financially. If you don’t have the capital to hand to commission one, but working in a corner of your bedroom is blurring the boundaries uncomfortably between home and work, equity release could be a potential solution.
“We’ve already had enquiries for equity release to finance a garden office,” explains Jan Johnson, director of 55Plus Equity Release. “It’s not going to be the right solution in all cases; if you have savings or access to other finance it may be more appropriate to explore these avenues. But in some instances releasing equity from your home could be a viable option to finance a garden office to improve your quality of life and provide a sustainable solution to enable you to enjoy the benefits of working from home.”
If you’ve struggled to work comfortably from home during lockdown and would like to see whether accessing the equity in your property could be an appropriate way of financing a garden office, our expert equity release advisers will be happy to discuss your circumstances to help you weigh up your options.