Remote work from bed (WFB) was a trend that started in 2020. While we could probably all admit to giving it a shot, it may not be the best idea.
We know that the switch to remote work wasn’t easy for everyone. Before Covid, remote work was the minority. It was reserved for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and the self-employed.
Many people were not prepared to work from their homes (WFH).
But, it’s been two years now, and we’ve all adjusted as best we could. Some managed to set up an adequate workspace, while others have not.
Have you done remote work from bed? What would happen if you continued?
Just How Many Remote Workers Work From Bed?
In October 2021, CraftJack did a study to determine “the state of home offices”. Their study surveyed 1,520 Americans working remotely.
It wasn’t surprising that 31% worked from their bedrooms. Of that 31% of participants, 38% often worked from their beds.
The study also revealed which professions were more (or less) likely to WFB.
Professions most likely to WFB:
- Real Estate at 80%
- Engineering at 73%
- Accounting at 72%
- Healthcare at 71%
- IT, Computer Science at 69%
Professions least likely to WFB:
- Education at 53%
- Media and Journalism at 53%
- HR and Recruiting at 47%
- Legal at 46%
- Insurance at 42%
Other than working from bed, 45% of all participants frequently worked from their couch.
By now, many remote workers have the essentials for WFH. But, does that stop them from occasionally doing remote work from bed?
Is Remote Work From Bed Bad For You?
Remote work from bed has been the dream work goal for many with 9-5 jobs. You get to stay in your PJs all day, lounging against a mountain of pillows.
And besides, who wouldn’t want to snuggle in bed on a cold, rainy day? The pros sound pretty darn amazing, right?
Unfortunately, remote WFB has some negative, long-term consequences.
You may have noticed pain in your back, neck, and shoulders. The reason? Poor posture, courtesy of little-to-no back support.
Beds are squishy and soft for a reason. They’re meant for sleeping and cuddling.
Not everyone has a good, solid headboard. Most of us are stuck stuffing pillows behind our backs for support. This inevitably leads to sinking, slouching, or outright lying down.
None of which is great for working.
75% of the participants in the study said they’ve had pain or discomfort. The majority of it was located along the back, shoulders, and neck.
But, wrist and hand pain is fairly common too. Without proper elbow support, while typing, our wrists and hands will suffer.
Another pressing concern is that your mind will no longer associate ‘bed’ with ‘sleep’.
You’re working in your bed all day, slouched over and snuggled under blankets. This confuses your brain and you’ve probably found yourself dozing off while working.
Doing this for an extended period will reprogram your brain. It will assume that the bed is a place for working, and not sleeping.
It’s easy to see how pain can keep you up at night. Unfortunately, the psychological consequences might be worse.
Because your brain is forced to be “on” while in bed during the day, it’ll be difficult to turn “off” at night.
Your mind won’t distinguish between “sleep” time and “work” time. Your regular sleep cycle will be disrupted.
The scariest consequence of all? The pain and insomnia could last for years.
What You Should Be Doing Instead
Set Boundaries and a Work Schedule
It may seem obvious, but boundaries and a set schedule are essential when WFH.
Seasoned remote workers know one truth: you need to govern yourself.
Find a way to separate your work life from your personal life. Designate a ‘workspace’ and only use it during work hours.
If your bed is where you work, make subtle changes. For example, when a laptop table is set up, it’s time for work. Once it’s put away, work hours are over.
It’s all psychological, remember?
Set specific work times for yourself. Stick to these times, and let family and friends know it too.
Get Dressed and Develop a Bedtime Routine
Yes, we’re saying you need to get out of those PJs and put on real clothes. You don’t have to wear a suit or dress, but real clothes will help.
This tells your mind that it’s time for work.
When it’s bedtime, go through the motions:
- Turn off your devices at least an hour beforehand.
- Shower the stress of the day away.
- Get into fresh PJs.
- Have some tea or read a book. Find something to help your mind switch from ‘work’ to ‘rest’.
Change Your Environment for Work
A simple thing, like adding more light during work hours, has a big impact. Here are a few suggestions to change your work environment:
- Make the room brighter during work hours and dimmer before bedtime.
- If you work in your bed, switch to plain bedding when you work. Replace it with your regular bedding before you go to sleep.
- Pack up at the end of your working day. Put it all away and don’t take it out until you start the next day.
Remote Work From Bed: The Verdict
There are definite perks to remote work from bed. Who wouldn’t want to be lazy and productive at the same time?
The problem is the long-term consequences. Depending on your age, you may not have experienced these problems yet. Some people may never experience them.
The changes we mentioned above may be small, but they help your brain learn the proper cues. Your mind will know that ‘work time’ and ‘bedtime’ are separate.
So, if you do notice any pain, discomfort, or sleeping problems? It’s best to fix it before it gets worse.
Sorry folks! We wish working from bed was genius, too.