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Out of Office: How to make a work from home space without a spare room


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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How to Create a Work From Home Space When You Don’t Have a Spare Room​

It’s hard to believe that it’s only nine months since the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, changing the way we shop, work and live – possibly forever. One of the most significant changes has, of course, been a worldwide switch to remote working in order to help stop the spread of the virus. By April of this year, 46.6% of employed people in the UK were conducting some of their work from home, with 86% of those people doing so as a direct result of the pandemic.

We, at Upperkey, made the move to remote working in March and encountered a few bumps along the road as we acclimatized to this new way of working and, I’d like to share with you what we’ve learned.

1. Watch this space​

While many have welcomed the move to remote working, others have struggled for a number of reasons including the fact that they miss the social aspect of their job, the claustrophobia of spending all of their time at home and, a lack of decent workspace. This latter point has been a major issue for those living in smaller properties such as studio flats – particularly in the numerous cases where two partners or flat-mates are having to share the available space.

For most, relocating to larger premises simply isn’t an option and, cramped work/living spaces have resulted in tension, stress and even physical health problems. For most of us, there’s currently no end in sight to remote working and, while you may not be able to wave a magic wand and conjure up a home office, we hope that the following guide will offer a little inspiration for making the space that you have work for you!

2. The Shelfie​

For those living in tiny apartments or studio flats, finding room to work can be almost impossible. With floor space at a minimum, one great idea is to fix a folding shelf to the wall and add a portable chair. This can work really well in allocating a part of a room as a workspace without having to rearrange or remove existing furniture.

3. Sofa so good​

When planning our living rooms, most of us tend to automatically place the sofa flush against a wall in order to make the best use of the space. Try moving the sofa a little further into the room to create a ‘floating sofa’ as the home designers call it. This will create a space between the sofa and the wall for a small desk without compromising too much of your living room.

4. The Cloffice​

If you’re lucky enough to have a large closet or wardrobe in your home, you might consider temporarily converting this into a workspace. Although this may sound a little like a C.S Lewis novel, it can be a great way of carving out a little bit of dedicated workspace for yourself. If possible, add a portable desk and a couple of lamps to create your cloffice. If you don’t have a large cupboard or can’t sacrifice the one you have, an under-stairs space can work just as well (and is a better use for it than storing items that stopped working sometime around the millennium! While this can be a good solution, it can get a little claustrophobic so don’t forget to take regular breaks.

5. The Awkward Corner​

In many homes – particularly those in older buildings – there is a room with an odd or awkward corner. Most of the time, these spaces are entirely unused as they’re the wrong shape or size for items of furniture. Reclaim your awkward corner by finding a seat snug enough to fit into it and placing a portable desk in front of it. Not only will this allow you to eke out a little workspace but, it will probably also give you a new perspective on the room.

6. Hall well and good​

If your home has a hallway or passage, you can try pilfering part of this for your workspace. A hallway space under a staircase is ideal as it provides a natural cubbyhole but, if you don’t have this, a portable desk and chair or folding wall desk as mentioned will work equally well.

7. Take a stand​

If you absolutely, positively can’t find room in a living room, you can always try turning your nightstand into a desk as a short term fix. Although it may, at first, seem odd to be working in your bedroom, this can be a good solution if you have no space in the living room or if you have a partner or flatmate who is also working from home.

What’s in store?​

  • When working from home, you’re unlikely to have the same kind of storage space for equipment and office sundries as you would in your normal office. You can get around this by trying the following:
  • Repurpose an airing cupboard or linen cupboard into space for equipment so that it’s out from under your feet.
  • Invest in a cable tidy to make sure that you and your partner / flatmates aren’t tripping over stray leads and computer cables.
  • Keep paper and other supplies in a cool dry place – my top tip for this would be a kitchen cupboard or drawer.

Making the move to working from home can be stressful – not least if you are competing for space in your home. I hope that these tips will offer a little inspiration for making a tiny space for yourself during these extraordinary times.

When working from home, remember to take regular breaks and, where permitted, to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s just for a quick walk around the block.

These are very strange days and we’re all doing the best that we can so don’t be afraid to reach out to your employer for extra support if you need it.

Johan Hajji, CEO & Founder, Upperkey

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