- Your Next Step
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The Covid pandemic has forced hundreds of millions of people in Europe, the UK and North America to work from home, and even though lockdowns are gradually ending many of us will continue doing so, at least-part time.
Office life and home life have merged, which means that the rooms in many houses are becoming increasingly cluttered and cramped – Teddy bears next to box files, computers next to microwaves, Zoom conference calls next to bedrooms.
The sheer numbers of new home-workers is astonishing. In the UK in 2019, for example, 5% of the population worked from home. Today, one third of the population is working from home.
In European countries, pre-Covid, an average of 5% people worked from home. Now that figure is 12% - though in Finland, it’s 25%. And in America, more than 70% of people who previously worked in offices are now working from home.
So it’s absolutely clear that a vast number of homes have suffered a big reduction in ‘free’ space. And the work spaces in them are usually uncomfortably tight.
It’s possible to make a little more space by de-cluttering, but this isn’t an effective long term solution. So the question is: how do you make a new, dedicated work space in a house that already feels crowded with too much activity?
The obvious answer is to convert your attic or basement into a proper workspace. But the real problem is ease of access, because even if you have a sizeable attic or basement, how do you get to it comfortably and safely?
Do you really want to walk up and down a (slightly wobbly) ladder every time you head for your workspace in the attic or basement? And what if you’re carrying work stuff or a cup of coffee?
The simple fact is that most houses don’t have enough space to install an extra standard staircase because they require several square metres of floor and ceiling area. And even if you did have the space, the cost of a standard staircase could be prohibitive, and might require two or three days to install.
We had been thinking about this home workspace problem since well before the pandemic, and we set a very ambitious design target: stairs that needed only one square metre of floor and ceiling space. We also wanted the stairs to add value to a house, and be a pleasure to look at and use.
The ‘tightest’ stairs, space-wise, are spiral staircases. But even spirals would need about twice the one square metre that was our target.
And then our designers and engineers – international experts in stair geometry and stairmaking – had a Eureka! moment. They realised that if the central column of the spiral was slightly slanted, the steps would be super-compact. The result: our 1m2™ stairs.
Our designers had three other aims. First, to ensure that the 1m2™ stairs are strong and stable. Second, to give them a stylish appearance. And third: to make them easy to install. This is why the stairs are precision-made in steel, available in hundreds of RAL powder-coated colours, and can be installed by two professional builders in about two hours.
Since the launch of the 1m2™ stairs, they’ve become increasingly in-demand, opening up previously inaccessible spaces in houses, apartment buildings, and even business premises.
The pandemic may eventually go away, but home-working is surely here to stay. And that means that, with or without a pandemic, innovative space-making solutions are needed in most homes.
We think that, for many people, the 1m2™ stairs can be the key to unlocking much-needed workspaces in homes quickly, effectively and stylishly.