After a tumultuous couple of years, the way we work has been undoubtedly disrupted. As the dust settles from the pandemic, the new way to work is here and one Bristol startup is here to ensure finding a workspace can be easier than ever.

Spare Desk is the brainchild of Bristol entrepreneur and experienced project manager Andrea Szell. The mum of 3 had the idea for Spare Desk before the pandemic accelerated the ‘new way of work’ and the increased requirement for flexible working and sustainable working practices.

Spare Desk is a  platform that enables individuals and businesses who would like to list and monetise their unused workspaces to connect to users who need on-demand workspaces tailored to their requirements.

Whether you are looking for a desk or have a space that could be used, Spare Desk is seeing the potential in the UK’s empty desks by becoming the new Workspace Marketplace at your fingertips.

Around the world, 53% of desks are unoccupied, and allowing people to rent a desk closer to home, or during travel for work, relieves commuting stress, reduces carbon emissions, improves mental wellbeing, productivity and could add an extra stream of income for your business. 

Andrea is enthusiastic about the changes happening to work spaces nationally, she tells us, “Recent times have woken us all up to how outdated our concepts of work-spaces are. Large central head offices, long commutes, lack of parking, and all of their associated problems, can be a thing of the past and we want to help accelerate a move to more productive ways of working.

“At Spare Desk, we endeavour to bring about a change that allows everyone to work closer to their home, reducing carbon emissions, and in an environment that suits them, and their day, perfectly. Relieving commuting and corporate stresses and so improving mental wellbeing and productivity.”

The wider impact of Spare Desk


Commuting accounts for 25% of the CO2 transport emission in the UK. The UK is the first major economy to pass net zero emissions law (by 2050) with half of UK businesses targeting carbon neutrality by 2030.

As a company that is passionate about doing less harm to the environment, Spare Desk wants to help provide the UK workforce with viable alternatives to this commute, so everyone is able to participate in bringing emissions down.

Long Commute

The average employee spent 62 minutes a day commuting in 2019 with 3.7 million people in the UK travelling for longer than 2 hours per day.

Leaving home and returning from work in the dark has for too long been a reality for too many people. Now the importance of family/home life, men-tal health and well-being – ‘the work/life balance’ – is becoming a key focus for both employers and employees. Giving you a wealth of local workspaces at your fingertips is our little way to help people regulate their work/life balance.

Empty desks and offices

53% of global office space is either vacant or unused – one of the biggest wasted resources within medium or large corporations.

Cost to commuters

Each mile you drive to work costs you an average of £577 per year.

It’s not just time that’s spent commuting; choosing a more local office, where you work just as effectively as within one further away, can save you thousands of pounds per year in travel costs.

Cost to employers

The cost of a desk to employers is estimated to be £14,000 a year (roughly half the cost of a UK employee’s salary) – a high price to pay considering 40% of office spaces remain vacant at any one time (Pre Covid statistics).

Great Expectations

70% of job seekers say that working remotely is a must-have when considering a new job.

The Millennial and the Gen Z workforce dominate the current employment market (60%+) and their expectations are for a more fluid, less geographically fixed workplace, creating potential challenges in recruitment for employers not able to offer this.

Change in law

New international standards on lease accounting have been introduced (with compliance mandatory since 2019 [IFRS16]), according to which all long-term or new lease contracts must now be shown on the balance sheet.

‘Balance sheet heavy’ businesses are less attractive to investors (and in some cases customers and suppliers) when comparing financial statements and financial ratios.

Supporting local

Flexible-office space will contribute £196bn to local economies over the next 10 years.

As uptake increases, we will see new life being breathed into local areas. Commutes being a thing of the past will mean people shop locally and use local restaurants and cafes for lunch. Local workspaces will engender a feeling of community as people start to recognise their fellow space users and the breakdown of communities being driven by a disparate workforce can be healed.

There are lots of excellent workspaces out there, local to you, and Spare Desk wants to bring them to you at the touch of a button.