Creating accessible home offices with the introduction of a wheelchair lift

Sean O’Sullivan, Managing Director of the Platform Lift Company gives his top tips on how to create accessible home offices with the introduction of a wheelchair lift.

Home working is becoming the norm; kitchen tables are doubling up as desk space, laptops provide a convenient way to work whilst sitting on the sofa or in bed and everyone only looks smart from the waist upwards for Zoom calls. There are no office politics to contend with, no busy commutes, cancelled trains or expensive journeys – so infinitely less stressful.

There are also lots of positive news stories about how home working could open up thousands of new jobs for disabled people with campaigners saying 'New opportunities for disabled people to work from home must not be lost when the coronavirus pandemic is over.'

However, there can be some downsides to working from home including loneliness and lack of interaction but perhaps one of the biggest problems is not being able to separate work and home life because you are in the same surroundings all day long. A home office or study is ideal because it gives you this dedicated space and makes you feel more productive.

Creating a home office

Creating this space is not always obvious especially if some areas of the home are not accessible because of physical barriers like steps or a difference in level. However, a wheelchair lift or a platform lift as they are commonly known, could increase a living space to accommodate a working area even if it is a corner of a room.

With bespoke office furniture, it is possible to transform even the smallest of spaces; the trick is to make use of available walls right from the floor up to the ceiling. A bespoke desk also means it can be made to suit an individual’s needs.

If there is not room inside a home, consider using outdoor space. Steps down into a garden can again be easily overcome with a wheelchair lift. Garden offices come in all shapes and sizes so even a small city garden could house a mini office which is still large enough for a desk and bookshelves.

A guide to wheelchair lifts for the home

An open style platform lift has a much smaller footprint and can reach short distances of up to 1.25 metres. These types of lifts can overcome a change in floor level without having to make major structural changes to a property. All they require is a level floor for the fixings and a power supply for the control unit. The platform lift is typically battery motorised and operated by a remote control, push buttons or a control panel.

A FlexStep provides a 2-in-1 solution which can reach heights of x,  this type of lift can be configured as a flight of steps and transformed into a platform lift. The FlexStep is particularly effective in tighter spaces and can be easily integrated with existing steps by using the same material for the tread and handrails.

Creating access to a level higher than 2 metres requires an enclosed residential platform lift. Whereas traditionally a stair riser would have been installed to overcome flights of stairs, there are now a variety of lifts designed especially for the home which are stylish, sustainable and provide a dignified and faster way to travel between floors. 

Through the floor lifts can be positioned virtually anywhere within a home as they have a self-supporting structure. They are easy to install as no major structural alterations are required.

A slightly more expensive option but infinitely better in terms of user experience as it feels more like a passenger lift is a residential platform lift – also typically called a home lift. There are endless design options for this type of lift which comes with its own shaft;  the external facing doors can be any RAL colour to match the surrounding décor and  glass panels can be used to give a feeling of more space within a room.

Again, this type of lift can be easily installed by creating a shallow pit (as little as 50mm). Alternatively, a ramp can be fitted to the front of the shaft on the ground floor level instead of creating a pit. Residential platform lifts can travel up to 12 metres.

A cabin style residential platform lift shares all the quality and aesthetics you would expect from a luxury hotel. The design possibilities are endless as you can choose your desired material and colour for the shaft and cabin.

Today’s wheelchair lifts are compact and have an incredibly small footprint – so even with the tightest of spaces it is possible to create disabled access. If you would like to talk to one of our team about our products or to arrange an accessibility survey please call us 01256 89600 or contact us.