Monday, 21 May 2012

Working from home: Is a desk a luxury or a necessity?

For the past six months I have been working from the dining room table or the top of the laundry basket. That is when I am not looking after Thing 1 and Thing 2. But at last we are in our new house with space for both of us to work from home.

Working from the dining table is perfectly acceptable apart from the time it takes to remove all traces of food stickiness and general Thing-related gunge before settling down to work. This is not a huge hardship; more that I can’t leave any work stuff on the table when the Things return from nursery/school as it will get scribbled on, cut or generally blasted with pink pen.

This to me is the main problem with not having a place set aside to work. When I had a desk I knew where important paperwork or gadgets were because I kept them in the desk drawers. I spent whole time we were renting looking for lost items that used to reside safely in those drawers.

My wife didn’t get any luxuries either; despite being a director of a pharmaceutical company. She spent the six months working from a small table wedged in the corner of our bedroom. She had to sit with one elbow on the radiator and wasn’t able to have a cup of tea on the desk while the printer was running.

It was cramped and uncomfortable but we did it and it shows that all many of us need to work from home is a laptop, broadband and phone – plus somewhere to file or store the essential paperwork or gadgets.

Now I have a big expanse of desk. It feels super-sized now I am used to just having somewhere to park my laptop. I know it will quickly get covered in stuff because a clean desk is a tidy mind and I like my mind to be unshaven and oblivious to boundaries.

Much as I am looking forward to using my desk I now think that a desk is an enjoyable luxury rather than a necessity. If people can turn a profit working from home on a dining table there could soon be a huge increase in the number of home workers.

What do you think? Is a desk a luxury or a necessity?

To celebrate being re-united with my desk I have cut the price of my laugh out loud novel Working from home: Mixing business with pleasure to £1.98. Buy it quick while I am still feeling euphoric!


  1. Both. Always have a desk when possible. Your back will love you. It doesn't mean that a person can't work without a desk though!

  2. My laptop lives pretty much permanently on the dining table (hence we rarely eat at the table!), but I do keep my good office chair there, that is a necessity. I'm fortunate that my two Things are grownup - well in age anyway.