How to Incorporate the Colour of the Year – Very Peri into Your Garden Room

For years interior trends have been neutral, with grey and white dominating people’s homes. After a long run of muted years due to the ongoing pandemic, 2022 is the year to brighten up our lives. The Pantone colour of 2022 has been announced as Very Peri; a cool lilac tinged blue.

We are loving this cool shade and think it works well inside the home, or even outside, in the garden room. Here are five ways you could incorporate Very Peri into your home and garden this year.

A Feature Wall

Why not add a splash of colour to a feature wall? A garden room can be a small space, but they usually have plenty of natural light. Creating a feature wall in your home or garden room is a fantastic way to keep it fresh. If you don’t fancy an entire colour wall, you could perhaps opt for some slices, arcs, or triangles.

Pantone feature wall

Blinds / Curtains

If you prefer to keep the walls unadorned, you can always dress a room with some quality curtains or blinds. Functional and beautiful, blinds can help keep the sun out of your eyes at certain times of the day, and curtains draw the eye and add beauty.

peri rugRugs

A good rug or floor runner in Very Peri is another way to add a splash of colour to your space. Many garden rooms have hard flooring such as laminate or vinyl, which can be cold. A cosy rug adds a softer feel underfoot and a cosy vibe to your space.

The rug on the left was found on the Society6 website, it comes in a range of colours.

A Lamp

Lamps are another way to set the tone and mood. Many garden rooms have LED spotlights which can be harsher. Why not add a lovely lamp with a very peri lampshade to your space. It can be used to give a different ambience to your area as well as adding a splash of colour to the room.

Accessories

As well as lamps and curtains, there are many other ways to accessorise a room. These include picture frames, mirrors, furnishings, ceramics, plant pots, wall art, and so much more. If you have a garden office, you could opt for desk accessories in. the Pantone colour of the year.

The below were all found on redbubble.com

Very Peri wall artVery Peri clockpantone mousematRed Bubble Cushion

These are just five ways to bring a pop of colour to your life. The point of designing your space is to be creative and find what works for you. Have fun with it and let your creative juices flow.

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5 Ways Your Garden Room Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing in 2022

Improved health and wellbeing are at the top of most people’s New Years resolution list every year. In difficult times, it has never been more important to dedicate time, space and effort to your health and wellbeing. Having a garden room provides you with the ideal space for this, which can be used in many different ways. Here are 5 of the best ways your garden room can help improve your health and wellbeing in 2022.

A home gym

One of the most popular uses for a garden room is a home gym. If you have health and fitness goals for 2022, creating a home gym is the perfect way to support these. Having a private gym literally on your doorstep removes some of the barriers to working out, such as feeling uncomfortable in front of others and having to travel to use the equipment. With a home gym, you can set it up exactly how you want it, investing in only the equipment you will actually use. If you’re looking to turn your new healthy habits into a lifestyle, creating a home gym will also help you save money on gym memberships over the long term.

A home spa retreat

Turning your garden room into a beautiful haven of peace and tranquillity can help you escape the stresses of modern life. What better way to support your wellbeing than by creating a space dedicated to peace and relaxation? You can set the space up exactly as you want it with the perfect lighting, music, furniture and décor. If you have the space, you can even add a hot tub for ultimate luxury and relaxation.

Connecting with nature

Few of us make time to get out in nature these days, even though the benefits of doing so are well documented. Installing a garden room can help you reap all of these benefits without even leaving your property. A garden room with good views of the outdoors from a patio or bi-fold glass panelled doors, for example, can help you enjoy the great outdoors even in the cold winter months. This can help you reduce stress, feel grounded and improve your mental wellbeing in these difficult times.

Improving your work-life balance

With many of us working from home at least some of the time these days, garden offices are becoming an increasingly popular addition. Setting up an office in a garden room allows you to reap all the benefits of working from home while being able to separate work from home life. While many home workers struggle to shut off after 5 pm, leaving your work in the garden office helps to create the divide between work and home. This helps to restore the work-life balance for reduced stress and improved wellbeing.

Pursuing your passions

A garden room provides you with an additional space in your home, which you can use for virtually any purpose. If you haven’t found a dedicated purpose for your garden room yet, perhaps consider using it as a hobby room in which you can pursue your passions. Whatever your personal interests are, having a dedicated space will motivate you to spend more time doing the things you love. When we spend more time doing the things we love, our happiness and overall wellbeing increases. Some examples of a hobby room include a music studio, arts and crafts studio, gaming room, home cinema, memorabilia room and yoga studio, but the possibilities are almost endless!

 

If you have a garden room, why not give some of these ideas a try? If not, perhaps 2022 is the year for investing in a garden building. We wish you a happy and healthy new year!

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Tips for Entertaining in Your Garden Room This Party Season

It’s the party season again, and what better way to enjoy it than in your beautiful garden room? Of course, the festivities might be low key again this year, but that doesn’t have to stop you having fun. Even if it’s just for your immediate household, you can still hold a fantastic party in your garden room. Here are our top tips and ideas for entertaining in your garden room this party season.

Install a bar

To create an authentic party atmosphere, consider installing a bar in your garden room. Bars are an extremely popular addition to a garden and give the wow factor to guests. If you have the space, you could install a fully equipped bar in your garden building. If you have a smaller garden room, you could create a small makeshift bar with a small side table, a couple of barstools and a mini-fridge. Add some snazzy lights to create a party atmosphere.

Invest in a hot tub

Hot tubs are an excellent option for small, intimate parties with a few close friends or simply for enjoying date night with your spouse. They’re great for relaxing and keeping warm in the colder months. Garden rooms with external decking are ideal for hot tubs. Crack open a bottle of bubbly and unwind at the end of a busy year – absolute bliss.

Decorate your garden room

If you’re thinking of hosting a party in your garden room this season, decorating is a must. You could go all out and fully adorn the room with Christmas decorations such as lights, tinsel, wreaths, ornaments etc. Or, if you just want to create a party atmosphere, then perhaps put up some string or tube lights and add a disco ball, disco lights, smoke or bubble machine for a fun vibe the whole family will enjoy.

Invest in patio heaters

We don’t need to tell you it’s cold in Britain at this time of year. Depending on the size of your garden room, it’s likely the party will spill out into the garden too. To keep your guests warm, consider investing in some patio heaters. These will allow people to enjoy the outdoors even on the coldest of winter nights. An alternative option is a fire pit which brings a totally different vibe. If you want to create a chilled campfire atmosphere, this is the option to go for.

Create a games room

If you’re not into conventional parties, perhaps consider hosting a games night. You could opt for old fashioned games like cards and board games, for which you would just need some comfy seating and a table. Alternatively, you could bring your garden room into the technological age and set up games consoles, a TV, sound system and computers. This is a great option for teenagers who want to invite their friends over during the festive period.

Take covid safe precautions

If you’re thinking of hosting a party this festive season, be sure to stay safe and take all necessary precautions. Always follow the latest government guidelines and rules relating to socialising during the Covid-19 pandemic. As per government advice, it’s a good idea to make sure everyone who will be attending the gathering takes a lateral flow test before they come. Try to keep the mix of households to a minimum and ensure good sanitation.

 

We hope you have a fantastic holiday and enjoy entertaining in your garden room this party season. No matter the time of year, you can always make the most of your garden room. We hope you have a wonderful holidays and 2022 brings us all joy.

 

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These 10 home office accessories will help you work smarter in 2022

Since the pandemic took hold in nearly 2020, working from home has become a way of life for money. As the new Omicron variant rips through society, we are once again being asked to work from home where possible. There are many positives to working from home, such as spending more time with family. However, a lack of space means that you have no physical separation between your work and personal life.

This can lead to a lot of distractions and interruptions if you don’t take measures to keep yourself productive throughout the day. With these ten home office accessories, we hope that you will be able to stay focused on your job while still enjoying all the benefits of working from home!

noice cancelling headphones home office accessories

Noice-cancelling headphones

Whether music helps to keep you focused or it’s necessary to drown out the family, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones are a necessity. While many of us have some earbuds these days, the battery can die on them. Instead, opt for a good pair of wired headphones with a microphone, perfect for video meetings.

standing desk attachment

Standing desk attachment

Working from home could mean you move less. You can switch between seated work and standing with a standing desk attachment. This helps to get the blood moving and switch up your positions during the day to avoid back pain. This one is from Amazon and has a keyboard and mouse tray as well making it even more innovative and useful. If you want to spend a bit less, you can get one without the keyboard tray.

notepad

Notepad

Interruptions during the working day can help you lose your train of thought. Having a notepad on hand is vital. You can make notes, to-do lists and keep yourself on track. You can even help save the planet by opting for a virtual notepad, although you may find the connection between physically writing and remembering greater.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Desktop-Organiser-Capacity-Stationery-Documents/dp/B08QRFKB4J/ref=sr_1_24?crid=IKLSSRPUJ151&keywords=desk+organiser&qid=1639829746&sprefix=desk+organiser%2Caps%2C72&sr=8-24

Desk organiser

A place for everything and everything in its place. If you live by this ethos, you’ll find it easier to locate what you need, which in turn will speed up your workflow. If your desk is a mess and you can never locate what you need, you’ll waste minutes each time. Those minutes add up. Invest in a desk organiser, pen pot, and filling system if necessary to keep everything on hand and easy to find.

gaming keyboard home office accesory

A good keyboard

You may think that all keyboards are created equal, but you would be wrong. You can increase productivity with a good keyboard as your typing speed can increase. Good keyboards are also much more comfortable to type on, helping you avoid RSI issues that can lead to long-term damage. While there are many fashion keyboards on the market, they are often not comfortable to type on. A good, old-fashioned keyboard is the way to go.

cable organsier

Cable organsier

Cables can get messy around a desk. Headphones, phone chargers, USB cables etc., can all get tangled and cluttered, making it difficult to get the wire you need. A simple cable organiser can keep everything within reach and easy to spot. These are inexpensive and will keep things neat and organised. These are home office accessories that can be used around the home where devices are often charged.

broadband booster

Broadband Booster

If you’re working in a garden office or somewhere far from the router, a broadband booster is a must. Slow internet speeds can hinder your progress; no one wants a buffer face. These devices can be picked up relatively cheaply from Argos or Amazon.

home office accessories mouse mat

A mouse mat

This small, simple object helps keep your mouse working optimally. Dust, crumbs and hairs can get into the bottom of your mouse and make it inaccurate or slow. A mouse mat not only helps your mouse glide effortlessly but can also be easier to keep clean with a quick shake.

ergonomic office chair

Ergonomic chair

Good posture is vital. When we slump, we can increase discomfort and pain. In fact, a 2009 study found that sitting up straight, sticking your chest out improved confidence, whereas slouching increases negative thoughts. Investing in a good ergonomic chair will make a real difference to your productivity.

desk plants

Desk plants

Plants are amazing, there are many benefits of keeping a little plant or two on your desk. Not only will it help to reduce stress and increase productivity and creativity but they also clean the air. As far as home office accessories go, they may not be the first thing that springs to mind, but a little plant can actually make a huge difference. Succulents are a great choice because they’re easier to maintain.

 

So, there we have it, ten simple things you can install in your home office to improve productivity. How many do you already have?

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Great Gifts for Garden Room Owners

We’re getting in the Christmas spirit here at Rooms2u. We’ve already posted a guide to decorating your garden room for the holidays. Are you still looking for some holiday gift ideas? We’ve compiled a list of great gifts for garden room owners to help you find something unique and interesting this year. There’s something to suit all kinds of garden rooms from offices to bars, gyms and relaxation rooms.

So, without further ado, let’s begin.

Gifts for Garden Bars

For those that work from home, the below gift ideas are great gifts for garden office owners.

Personalised home bar lampHow about this Personalised Home Bar Mini Desk Lamp? This lamp has seven light colour options and can be personalised, making it a truly unique gift. Coming in at under £20, it won’t break the bank either.
handmade bar opticsNext up, we have some handmade bar optics. Finished on timber, these bar optics will really complete any home or garden bar, making them a great garden room gift this Christmas. The recipient can line up four of their favourite spirits and serve them in bar measures.
personalised bar window decalsThese personalised frosted window decals will really add a professional touch to any garden bar. There’s a vast range of sizes, and you can opt for either portrait or landscape orientation. Choose your text and even icons to make it perfect for the recipient.

Gifts for Garden Offices

For those that work from home, the below gift ideas are great gifts for garden office owners.

Desk organiserFirst up, we have this personalised docking station/desk organiser. With space for keys, a watch, pen, wallet and glasses, everything has been considered with this docking station. There’s a choice of 4 wood finishes to complement the garden room.
pencil/phone holderNext, we have an incredibly cute Mokani elephant pencil holder with a phone holder. This makes a great stocking filler costing only £6.99 and comes in a choice of 4 colours. We have shown white, but there’s also blue, pink and green.
sticky notesThis sticky memo notes holder with index tab flags in a leather-like case is a bargain coming in. under a fiver. Give the gift of organisation with this beautifully presented sticky note set. There are multicoloured tabs for organising documents as well as the standard sticky note cubes.

Gifts for Gaming Rooms

If you know a gamer, then these gift suggestions could be right up their street.

millennium falcon BT speaker 

First up, we have this incredibly cool star wars millennium falcon Bluetooth speaker. This is the most extraordinary way to play your favourite tunes while having a gaming session. It even lights up when in use, has a range of 30ft and has a built-in Star Wars theme score.

If they’re into streaming their gaming sessions then this personalised Twitch username neon sign could be just the ticket. Get their gamer tag in lights for perfect streaming sessions and gram-worthy photos of their gaming rig.
gamer stress relieverIf gaming gets them all stressed and worked up then this stress reliever shaped like a PS4 controller could be the perfect way to help them work their stress out. This is under £10 and part of a 3 gifts for £20 offer too!

Gifts for Garden retreats

If you know someone that likes to retreat to their garden room for a bit of peace and quiet, then the below garden room gift ideas could be for them.

mr bookish lampFirst up, we have this Mr Bookish Table lamp, which is ideal for those that always have their nose in a good book.  This multi-functional piece is not only a lamp but an excellent place to rest your book when you are finished reading for the day.
backflow incense burnerThis backflow incense burner is ideal for those who like to relax and meditate. It helps set the right mood with a beautiful waterfall effect alongside the olfactory experience of the burning incense.
selenite lampSelenite lamps, like this one, are perfect for boosting mental wellness. This one will infuse the recipient’s space with a soothing light that will bring clarity and clear energy blocks. They are great during meditation, helping to achieve a deep sense of peace.

Gifts for Garden Gyms

Do you know someone with a garden gym or home gym? Check out some gift suggestions below.

dumbell storage rackThis storage for dumbbells and kettlebells is the perfect gift to keep their space organised and tidy. It has a space-saving slimline design with multiple trays to adapt to different weights and sizes. It’s made of commercial-grade steel, so it’s durable and can withstand heavy loads while resisting damage over time.
gym doormatHow about a personalised doormat for the gym? You can add the recipient’s name and choose from five different colour options to suit their décor and taste. It is perfect for wet days to ensure they don’t slip on the floor while adding a fun touch.
resistance band hangerThis tidy hanger for resistance bands is ideal for storing and organising bands after use. We like the wording on this one, but you can personalise it or leave the hanger plain; it’s up to you.

We hope these gifts for garden room owners have helped to inspire you this holiday season. There are loads of fantastic gifts, the world wide web is your oyster. Remember if you’re ordering personalised to get it quickly, as these take time to create and despatch.

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How to Decorate Your Garden Room for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to think about decorating. Christmas decorations bring light and joy to the home during the cold, dark winter months. Your garden room is an extension of your home, so why not get creative and decorate this too? Here we share our top tips for decorating your garden room this Christmas.

Put up a Christmas tree

Putting up a tree inside your garden room will instantly give it a festive look and feel. Choose a tree that fits comfortably in the size of your room. If your garden room is large, you may be able to fit a good-sized tree in there – somewhere between 5ft and 8ft. Smaller garden buildings will need a smaller tree. If you have a very compact space, simply add a mini tree on top of a desk or table. This will look just as Christmassy in a smaller space. Decorate your tree with baubles, tinsel and fairy lights just as you would in the main house.

Light up your garden room

Christmas lights can make a garden room look like Santa’s grotto. Consider adding solar string lights to the exterior, so it lights up at night – these can help light up your building without adding to your electricity bill. Decorate the inside with fairy lights. Battery-powered fairy lights are a great option for the garden, which are often less frequently used than rooms in the main house. Drape these around the tree and any shelves, mirrors or artwork you have on the walls. Garden rooms with a bar look great with fairy lights around the bar area.

Candles are another great way to light up your garden room. Advent candles on a mantlepiece give a classic Christmas feel. Remember to stay safe – never leave candles unattended and turn off any lights when the garden room is not in use.

Bring Christmas colours into your space

Adding Christmas colours is an easy way to make your garden room look festive this year. Go for deep reds and greens as well as sparkles, silvers and golds. Add these with soft furnishings such as cushions and blankets. This will make your garden room look and feel so cosy! Another way to easily bring Christmas colours into your garden room is by wrapping tinsel around curtain rails, bar stools or furniture legs.

Bring festive scents into your garden room

Give your garden room its own festive scent to create a truly cosy, Christmassy feel and evoke memories of Christmas past. Natural scents like cinnamon or fresh pine are perfect for a garden building. Or perhaps light scented candles, incense or festive wax melts. If you have electricity in your garden room, you could opt for a festive plug-in room fragrance. Again, remember not to leave candles unattended in a garden room.

Deck the halls

To finish off your festive garden room, add some hanging decorations and Christmas themed ornaments. Pretty much any Christmas decoration that looks good in the house will be suitable for your garden room also. Perhaps consider creating a garden theme by hanging a holly wreath and placing Christmas animal ornaments and statues in and around your garden room. Or, if you have children, perhaps go all out and turn your garden room into Santa’s grotto or an elves workshop.

If you don’t want to spend extra on new decorations, consider making some homemade decorations such as snowflakes. This is a great activity for the kids and will look just as festive as shop-bought decorations.

 

Hopefully, we’ve inspired you to get creative and decorate your garden room for Christmas this year. Regardless of what you use your garden room for, there are many ways you can bring the festive spirit into it using colour, lights, scents and decorations.

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Six Top Tips to be more sustainable at home

Sustainability is a hot word that has become a major part of our society. Homeowners are seeking new ways in which to become more sustainable, which allows them not only to be more “green” but also potentially less dependent upon external influence. It can be easy to think that becoming more sustainable is difficult, expensive or time-consuming. However, this is not the case. You can be easily insert more sustainability into your life – check out our six top tips.

 

Tip #1: Lighten your Lighting

 

One of the significant factors in sustainability is the amount of energy that is consumed and outputted by your home. Lighting plays a big role in this, accounting for more than 15 per cent of a household’s typical electricity bill. One of the best ways to reduce this energy usage is by switching to LED lightbulbs, specifically those which guarantee a long lifespan for the bulb.

LEDs use up to 90 per cent less energy than their incandescent counterparts, and they last up to 25 times longer. This means not only do they help the planet; they help your wallet as well. You can even choose from a variety of colours to suit the ambience of your room.

 

Tip #2: Tighten those Taps

 

According to WaterRegsUK, the most complained about plumbing problem in the UK is a leaky tap. Do you know that most homes have a leaky faucet, shower, or other water source leak? A leak of one dropper second can increase your water bill by six per cent, and it equates to about 460 million litres of water wastage a year!

If you spot a leak and you’re feeling confident in your DIY skills, a lot of basic leaky issues can be fixed quite easily.  If you can’t get the leak to stop yourself, get in touch with a professional to help.

 

Tip #3: Drown The Draughts

 

Draughts and gaps around doors and windows should be the next thing to check. It goes without saying that draughts will let out the precious heat you’ve paid to create, resulting in higher energy bills and greater energy consumption. Energy Saving Trust offer some great ways to reduce the draughts (and potentially save around £25 a year!

Tip #4: Grow Your Own

 

Growing your own food bring a variety of benefits. You’ll use less fuel getting to and from a store. You’ll no doubt delight in seeing the buds of a pepper or a tomato on the vine. You’ll also increase the amount of clean air around your house. If you are fortunate to have a garden, it doesn’t have to be massive; why not partition some off to grow some produce. Even if you don’t have a garden, there are many fantastic options like this Microgreen Grower to grow your own fruit and veg indoors.

If gardening is not your bag, why not at least plant a tree or flowers? You can still plant a tree or flowers in the yard. You don’t have to harvest to lessen your impact on the world and build up your home’s sustainability.

 

Tip #5 Reserve Rainwater

 

Collecting rainwater is an excellent way to increase your home’s sustainability. It is usually relatively easy to attach a butt to your existing gutter system. This collected water can then be used for watering plants, cleaning cars, or any other activity apart from consumption. By lowering the amount of water you consume, you lower your water and energy consumption at the same time. Both of these reduce your carbon footprint and increase your personal sustainability.

 

Tip #6 Bask in the Sun

 

A great many appliances, lights and other electronics in the home can be powered by solar energy captured using solar panels. Whilst the initial cost implications of this are, of course, higher, the long term pays off in lower energy bills, and a smaller carbon footprint makes it worth it. Nowadays, even your garden room can be powered by solar panels on the roof. Some energy companies offer assistance in the form of grants for solar panels.

 

It’s easy to see from these six simple tips that becoming more sustainable is more accessible and more achievable than you may have initially thought. If you are looking to install a garden room with solar panels, check out our listings here.

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What Not To Store In Your Shed

The idea of not using your shed or outdoor buildings as a place to store items may seem an alien concept. We’ve identified that we don’t want certain items stored in the house, so what better place to put them than in the outdoor storage space we cherish.

The truth is, not everything belongs in a shed. Uninsulated and lacking in climate control, moisture and wide temperature variations can affect certain items you may have stored in your shed, cabin or garage.

We are not suggesting that you stop using your outdoor storage space, but there are ways to utilise this space effectively and help prevent things like rust or corrosion or significant incidents such as fires.

A Strict No

Do not keep anything combustible in outdoor storage. This includes items such as propane tanks, batteries and even spray paints. These items can explode at temperatures of 48°C. Now you might be thinking, where I live never gets that hot, and you may be correct; however, heat trapped in an enclosed space like a shed will rise far more quickly than the outside temperature. Yes, you could use a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature; but, we would recommend following the motto “When in doubt, leave it out.”

Heat Horrors

Heat can also affect non-combustibles. Even a slight rise in temperature can ruin paint and cleaning products, and you don’t want to be forking out money to buy an item more than once. Check the labels for their maximum heat exposure advice and ensure the space you’ll be using won’t go higher than the recommendation.

Freeze Frights

With winter fast approaching and Jack Frost running rampant, it’s important to remember that low temperatures can be problematic. Cold temperatures cause batteries to lose their charge, so storing batteries for power tools and other items in the shed might mean that when spring comes, and it’s time to use these items, the batteries won’t work anymore. Paint that has been frozen and thawed will probably change consistency and could be rendered unusable. Also, keep in mind that water expands when frozen; so any liquid stored in glass containers might explode when the liquid freezes.

Moisture Menaces

Even if tools are directly exposed to water or rain, humidity in the air of a shed can cause condensation. This condensation causes rust or corrosion issues. Items such as saws or shears may become dull. Regular oiling will help prevent problems, but we recommend keeping these items inside if you live in a particularly humid or damp climate.

Pesky Pests

If you want to store items such as pet food, plant seeds or bulk food items outside, they must be kept in sturdy plastic or metal containers. These items attract pests and rodents who will not only devour the products but also move into your shed quite happily.

 

The best rule of thumb to follow is to keep indoor items indoors. Indoor furniture and electronics are not constructed to go outdoors and therefore will be much more susceptible to damage. Unless absolutely necessary, we recommend using outdoor storage for outdoor appliances, lawn furniture, and garden equipment.

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How Can Employers Support Staff In The Event of Plan B

Businesses experienced over a year of furloughs, grants, business closures, re-openings and then further lockdowns before finally coming out of hibernation this summer. Many provisions have been left in place to help support the UK through reopening and ensuring that rising numbers of Covid positive patients are kept to a minimum. In response to a recommendation for continued monitoring of the situation, the UK Government announced its COVID-19 autumn and winter 2021 plan many employers will have been left asking what the plan meant for them and their staff. Here we take a look at what those Plans entail and cover some frequently asked questions about Plan B.

 

What’s the Plan?

 

Or, should we say Plans? The UK Government published Covid-19 Response: Autumn And Winter Plan. This summarised the lockdown restrictions and rules that were removed and outlined the provisions that would remain in place to manage and support the ongoing pandemic.

 

This takes the form of two plans. The plans (Plan A and Plan B) apply in England. Other country in the UK including Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland will create their own plans or rules to follow this autumn and winter.

 

Plan A

 

The plan we are currently following is Plan A and England will follow this until further notice is given. The basic standards of Plan A are:

 

  1. Building defences through pharmaceutical interventions including vaccines and antivirals.
  2. Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate.
  3. Supporting the NHS and social care.
  4. Advising people on how to protect themselves and others with guidance.
  5. Pursuing an international approach to help to vaccinate the world and manage risks at the border.

 

Guidance for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) was updated last month to support employers in reducing workplace risks.

While most employees have now been encouraged to return to the workplace businesses are encouraged to:

  • Not ask nor allow employees to attend the workplace if they are required to self-isolate
  • Ask employees who feel unwell to stay at home.
  • Ensure there is adequate supply of fresh are into indoor spaces by opening windows and/or doors.
  • Provide hand sanitiser and supplies to clean surfaces which are regularly touched.
  • Consider using, as appropriate, the NHS QR code poster for customers to check in and the NHS COVID-19 app

Masks are no longer a legal requirement; however, employers should conduct a risk assessment and can ask their employees to wear masks to reduce the risk of transmission.

Should pressure upon the NHS and emergency services increase such that this pressure becomes unsustainable the Government may choose to implement Plan B. Prior notice would be given prior to a switch to Plan B and the UK Government has said that if mandatory vaccine certification comes into force they will five at least one week’s notice.

Plan B entails the following:

  • Working from home where reasonable and possible
  • Legal requirement to wear face masks in certain settings (these will be outlined should Plan B be implemented)
  • Asking the public to be more cautious
  • Mandatory vaccine passports for nightclubs, indoor settings with more than 500 attendees, festivals and other outdoor setting with greater than 4000 people and any setting for more than 10000 people.

 

Whether as an employer all of your staff have returned to the workplace or some or all are still following working from home or hybrid working – you will need to decide what the plan is going forward. This is especially important given there is a least a risk of England adopting Plan B this Autumn or Winter. The SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) have advised that working from home is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission. So what happens if Plan B is implemented and your staff return to work from home?

 

Can an employer reduce employee’s pay because they work from home full or part time?

The quick answer is no! The only way an employer can reduce an employee’s pay is with agreement from the member of staff. If your staff are still performing the same tasks, it’s unlikely they will jump at the idea of less pay; especially if colleagues who are hybrid working, or office based keep the same pay. Whilst it may be easy to think that an employee’s ancillary costs such as transport or clothing expenses are reduced by working from home; it should not be overlooked that the cost of their utility bills are likely to increase.

How does an employer support staff working from home?

The UK Government advice clearly sees the necessity for hybrid working; especially should it become necessary to implement Plan B. It’s a good idea to review any risk assessments and consider what the best actions will be should the UK need to return to home working. Any staff with disabilities or special needs will need considerations for their working spaces to be made to ensure they are working safely.

Employers should have discussions with their staff to fully understand their needs and the best way to ensure business continuity. Employers should also ensure they have a thorough home working policy which covers things such as (this is not an exhaustive list) :

  • Supervision
  • Equipment
  • Insurance
  • Security
  • Healthy and safety
  • GDPR and data protection
  • Disciplinary proceedings

 

What happens if an employee feels reluctant to return to the workplace?

Understandably, some staff, especially those more vulnerable or those affected by Covid-19 may feel trepidatious about returning to the workplace. It is crucial that employers have frank and honest conversations with their employees both regarding a return to base and the employee’s concerns surrounding this. Consider an employee’s request and reasons for not wanting to return to work. Where reasonable or possible, consider allowing the staff member to work from home even some days a week to help alleviate their concerns. Repercussions for dismissing a employee for failing to attend the workplace following their belief of imminent danger could be considered an unfair dismissal and employees do not need two year’s service to bring forth a claim.

 

What about insuring employees working from home?

Working from home could render existing insurance policies as invalid or inadequate. Contact insurers and discuss hybrid or home working needs so that the correct policies are in place to cover things such as personal injury, damage or theft of equipment, cyber-related breaches and the use of vehicles from a remote working location.

 

What if an employee wants to work from another country?

If employees are based overseas then, employers will need to consider taxation rules both here in England and in the host country. Generally speaking, UK employers will need to deduct PAYE and NI contributions while employees are based overseas. Many countries have special COVID-19 tax exemptions but employees will need to check each country’s rules individually.

 

We realise there will be many questions for employers regarding keeping their businesses afloat, managing staff working from home and supporting casual staff in the event of business closure. You can get more information from the UK Government Guidance and HR support companies.

 

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How To Choose The Ideal Garden Room

*Pictured garden room is The Moonlight by Into The Garden Room

It’s undeniable that the last 18 months have seen many of us spending a significantly greater time at home than ever before. Many people found themselves suddenly working from home and educating their children at home as well; suddenly, dining rooms and living spaces became offices or schoolhouses. Even for those keyworkers who continued to attend a workplace or office every day, social lives were still wholly stunted.  Garden rooms became the perfect solution, but how do you find your ideal garden room? Let’s take a look.

UK based Google searches for garden rooms increased by 271% in the year following the first lockdown, and more and more UK homeowners were thinking of creative ways to use the space around them. With so much choice in the garden room market, how do you choose the best for your needs?

Consider The Main Purpose

A garden room is a great way to enhance your lifestyle in a variety of ways. Think about what you will use the space for. The primary use of the room will steer the design choices that you make. A home gym will have very different requirements to a playroom or garden office. You won’t be able to work from home in a garden building with no mains power. If you run a business from your garden rooms, you will want to consider how your clients feel when they arrive at your location. Size does matter, but bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to cleaning or planning permission!

Budget

Money matters all the time, and that’s still true of a garden room. Building a garden office to grow a business may well be the perfect investment, but you will still need to consider a reasonable budget and how you will finance your new garden building. Some vendors will offer finance for their products allowing you to build the extra space now and pay for it later.

Where Will It Live

You will need to consider how much space you have in your garden and how much of that space you are willing or able to sacrifice. A giant garden room might be the ultimate dream; however, it will be overpowering and obtrusive in a small garden. Consider the other uses of your garden, such as family gatherings or children’s play areas. You don’t want rogue footballs smashing into your garden room window.

Speaking of windows and doors, you’ll want to consider the placement of the room to the sun. You will likely find it impossible to work or work out if the sun is perpetually beaming in turning the space into a sweatbox.

Think About Your Desired Final Look

You will need to consider whether you want a room that blends in with the surroundings or a statement garden building. Take time to look at all your cladding and paint options. There are many cladding options, from softwood or cedar to composite wood or even metal. Some will require staining or painting, whilst others will come ready to go.

How Much Maintenance Time Do You Want To Invest

Build quality and design are not the only things you need to consider when choosing your perfect garden room. Built to last and utilising many of the same materials in house building, garden rooms still require varying levels of maintenance. Cedar cladding is often considered the lowest maintenance – which is true unless you want to maintain that purchase colour. If so, you’ll need to at least oil the cedar every few years. You can read more about garden room maintenance and what to expect.

 

Choosing the ideal garden room is a very personal decision and not to be taken lightly, but we hope that these tips will help you make the best choice for your needs!

 

 

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