By February 14, 2011 Read More →

Who needs a separate home office?

Home working office - Catherine RaynorI’ve noticed that articles about home working usually insist you must have a separate workspace, with a door to close against distraction and to mark the distinction between work and home. Having spoken to many home workers with all kinds of home working arrangements, I don’t believe this is the case at all and I hope it doesn’t put too many people off starting to work from home.

Just because you don’t have a spare bedroom or handy attic doesn’t mean you can’t work from home perfectly happily and productively. For instance, a new home worker I spoke to recently told me she has earmarked a space under the stairs. Catherine Raynor, communications and media consultant and very recent home worker, has come up with this ingenious solution:

‘When I decided to embark on freelance life one of my biggest concerns was my work space. As someone whose main activity is writing I don’t need much space but I was caught up in the idea of boundaries, being able to close the door on work at the end of the day etc etc. I share a two bedroom flat with a friend so I was thinking I would need to rent a desk and worrying about the cost implications of that when I stumbled across the My Home Office section on

‘This insight into other people’s home office ideas inspired me to be a bit more creative and think about the opportunities my home presented, not the barriers. No, I don’t have a spare room but I have a really huge bedroom with lots of natural light and view across my street which I realised could help quell feelings of cabin fever.

Home office cupboard - Catherine Raynor‘I didn’t want to feel I was working in my bedroom or sleeping in my office so I thought hard about the set up. Dwell is my favourite interiors store so I started there and bingo! On their site I found a really stunning glass desk (I later found a cheaper version on ebay!) and a funky grey leather office chair that worked well with my wallpaper.

‘My glass desk sits in the window so I am looking out on the world with my back to the bedroom. When I skype I see my bedroom behind me but the rest of the time it’s easy to ignore. I have never worked in the lounge or the kitchen – they are my social areas.

‘A quick trip to Ikea to buy some shelves turned my wardrobe into a cupboard so at the end of the day I tidy everything away.

‘My discreet glass desk is overshadowed and almost disappears into my bright pink curtains, which are drawn to signal the end of the work day and welcome back my bedroom! All for less than £350!’

My home office - Catherine Raynor

Have you come up with a clever plan to adapt home working to your own needs and environment? We’d love to hear about it and see it!

Posted in: Home offices

2 Comments on "Who needs a separate home office?"

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  1. Helen says:

    This is a real breath of fresh air. Many working mums I know with young kids work from the dining room table. Many are working part time and with the the cost of housing in the UK they simply don’t have the funds to buy a bigger house with a spare room. Yet as you say, most work from home advice says you must be able to close the door on your home office at the end of the day.

    Actually, a dining room is more practical in some ways if you’re working alongside a young child who is playing with toys or drawing for short periods. You can’t work this way for long, but you can at least catch up with a few emails. And many mums run craft businesses so by evening the dining room table becomes a place for the sewing machine or jewellery workshop.

    So the challenge is having an office that you can pack away at the end of the day! Any tips?

    • judy says:

      Thanks, Helen, I agree this is a brilliant idea.

      I’d love to feature any other clever ways home workers have come up with to incorporate their workspace within their homes. Any disappearing sewing machines out there? 🙂