Debenhams has revealed new sales figures that show more people than ever before are working from home to beat the recession.
Demand for home office furniture and equipment - compact desks, chairs, and filing cabinets - has jumped by over 340 per cent in the past year alone, says department store Debenhams.
The trend could be good news for the Government which believes that encouraging more people to start their own business is the secret to beating the recession.
Debenhams spokesperson Carie Barkhuizen said: "Our figures show that thousands of people who have lost their job are seizing the opportunity to begin working for themselves.
"While redundancy is never good news, for many it will be the push they have needed to take the plunge and set up their own company.
"Judging from past history, there's no doubt that many of tomorrow's highly successful entrepreneurs are currently to be found running their very first business from the corner of their own living room."
Small triangular shaped work stations, designed specifically to fit unobtrusively into room corners or under the stairs are the top sellers in Debenhams recently expanded office furniture list. Small, glass-top desks - just the right size for a laptop computer, a telephone with a printer alongside - are the next favorite buys.
However, there is one area where home workers are refusing to compromise. Despite the recession, comparatively expensive, top-of-the-range, super comfy, leather, swivel office chairs are still top of every home worker's list. Often they will cost more than the desk.
Compact book shelves, filing cabinets and desk lamps are the next most popular items.
Debenhams research indicates that there are three main factors driving the sudden surge in home office furniture.
By far the biggest influence is the number of workers made redundant who are deciding to go it alone, using their existing knowledge and skills to form their own fledging companies rather than seeking employment elsewhere.
In addition, larger companies, seeking ways to reduce costs, are now actively encouraging more employees to work at home rather than occupying expensive office space.
A further push is coming from employees who see working from home as a much better way to create a life-work balance rather than facing the daily commute. The trend towards home working may also be good news for the environment, reducing the need for commuting and fewer car journeys.
Carie Barkhuizen continued: "While Britain may once have been a nation of shopkeepers, it is now becoming a nation of self starters.
"Working from home reduces the cost of running a business dramatically, enabling new comers to undercut even established rivals in every sector of commerce.
"Low overheads are essential to help every new business carve out a market foothold, which they can then build into a successful company in its own right."
About Debenhams:Debenhams is a leading department stores group, and has a strong presence in key product categories including women's fashion, with day dresses, shoes, bikinis, jeans, men's clothing, home ware, make-up, health and beauty, accessories, perfume, lingerie and children's wear.
Best-selling brands at Debenhams include Fake Bake, St Tropez tan, Xen-Tan, Chanel, Lancaster, Famous Dave's, Natio, Benefit, Guerlain, Elemis, bareMinerals, Piz Buin, Tantastic, Estee Lauder and Dior - Website: www.debenhams.com