In this thread (Saved Workspace / Layout - #2 by icebear) someone asked if there’s a way to save only the layout not the specific notes of a workspace. Is that possible now a year later?
The other thing is that frequently Obsidian doesn’t even save the layout, not even with those notes in it. It just resets to the default empty screen.
Edit: Just worked this last one out: I was using the same .obsidian file for two vaults so naturally the layout save file got messed up.