When You Don’t Have a Desk

Working from home at your table

A table will due when you don't have a desk

A good workspace gives you space to put and use the things you need for typical work day. Back in your regular office that is typically a desk. But what options do you have when you don’t have a desk at home? The most common is a table. So learn what to look for in an alternative. And see what’s available to buy that’s less than a full work desk.

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed a lot of people to work from home, many for the first time. Even more people are practicing social distancing. Don’t panic. At the end of the day you’re doing the same job. And you can still reach out to friends and family. But you’ll need to do so with a different toolset. This site is here to help you make the changes needed to make the most of the situation.

What You Need When You Don’t Have A Desk

Simply put, whatever workspace you come up with needs to hold stuff up. Safely, securely, and at a height you can work with. With enough available space for everything you need.

28-inches High – Give or take a couple of inches. The height of your desktop is critical to your comfort after hours of work. Most purpose built work surfaces are 28-30 inches high. If you’re comfortable with a regular desk at your office you’ll be fine with something at a similar height. If not you’ll need to either go with something shorter/taller. Or be able to adjust your own height while sitting.

Room For Everything – Your computer and its accessories all need room to fit. But so will your phone, headphones, pen and paper, and anything else you use throughout the day. For width have at least enough room for your keyboard and mouse. For depth have enough room for a comfortable viewing distance from your monitor.

Where To Setup a Home Office

Alternatives You May Already Have

Card Table – This was my first home office desktop. Mine was square, but a rectangle card or folding table would work much better. Especially if using a full sized keyboard and mouse pad. Lots of space underneath for a computer tower and/or trash can.

Dining Table – A common first home office desktop for many. More than a few small businesses also started on a dining room table. They have good height and plenty of space to work with. The downside is if you need it for home life, too. Having to setup and clear off your work gear daily will take time. But it does give you a “going to work” and “going home” ritual to help set your frame of mind.

Tray Table – If space is at a premium or you need to buy something as cheap as possible then a tray table could get you by. It’ll work better if you’re only using a laptop. But it can be put up easily at the end of work.

Ironing Board – If you have no tables available and can’t leave the house then take a look at your ironing board. It can be height adjusted. And offers width enough for more than a laptop. This is more of a last ditch option. I know my ironing boards have always been less than stable. And the padded tops are not a good writing surface. But you won’t be the only coronavirus refugee using one, either.

Alternatives You Can Buy

Getting a full desk may not be viable for a while. The better ones are expensive. You need a store that carries what you want to be open to the public. And they take time to put together. Consider holding off on getting a desk for home until your financial future it more secure. And you can put in the time to find the right desk for yourself.

Instead get a card or folding table. They are inexpensive. And available at stores like Walmart and Target, which are more likely to stay open. Get a rectangular over a square. You’ll be able to make use of more of its surface space. Also get one with a hard plastic top rather than something cloth or padded.

Lifetime 80251 Adjustable Folding Laptop Table TV Tray, 26 Inch, White Granite
  • Adjusts to 24 inch, 26 inch and 28 inch height settings
  • Great for home, office, crafts and outdoor activities
  • Open dimensions as 26 in. (Length) x 18 in. (Width) x 24 in. - 28 in. (Height)
  • Lightweight design folds flat for easy transport and storage; Folded Dimensions- 40.4" L x 17.9" W x 1.8" H
  • UV-Protected top is stain resistant and easy to clean. Frame Material: Powder-Coated Steel, Leg Tubing Diameter: 0.7 inch
Cosco 20" x 48" Vinyl Top Folding Table
  • FOLDS FLAT - Folds up tight and compact for easy storage
  • LOW MAINTENANCE - Durable steel frame with powder-coated finish
  • STRONG - Use of cross braces and tube-in-tube reinforced frame
  • NON-MARRING - Leg tips protect floor surfaces
Lifetime 80160 Commercial Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table, 4 Feet, White Granite
  • Adjusts to 24-inch children's height, 29-inch table height and 36-inch countertop height
  • Superior strength and durability. Backed by a ten-year limited warranty
  • Rust-resistant powder coated steel frame. UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Top
  • Exceeds ANSI/BIFMA standards. Seats 4 Comfortably. Superior strength and durability
  • Stain resistant and easy to clean. Weight capacity (pounds): 350
Lifetime Height Adjustable Craft Camping and Utility Folding Table, 4 ft, 4'/48 x 24, White Granite
  • All purpose table constructed of powder-coated steel and high-density polyethylene plastic
  • 48-inch x 24-inch molded tabletop ; Seating Capacity: 4
  • Folds in half for easy storage and transport; Great for taking on the go
  • Three Adjustable Height Settings; (24-Inch, 29-Inch and 36-Inch)
  • Convenient carry handle; Table weight: 19 lbs.Table Top Thickness:1.4 inch

Prices are from Amazon Product Advertising API, last updated on 2021-01-27.