Even though a new year has started, life is still anything but “normal.” As Covid-19 continues to rage on around the world, many of us are still working from home to protect ourselves. With all the stress and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it’s tempting to work from bed in your most comfortable pajamas.
Is working from home in bed really the smartest move, though? It depends on who you ask.
Working from home in bed: Should you do it?
Working from bed (or WFB, as we like to call it), isn’t something recommended by chiropractors or physical therapists. “It is almost impossible to get into an ergonomically correct position to be working,” says Tom Tozer, chiropractor at Imperium Chiropractic in Ladysmith, Wis.
But if staying cozied up in your sheets all day helps boost your mood and ease some of your tension, then it’s OK to indulge in a WFB situation every once in a while.
“When you feel the desire or necessity to work from bed, first acknowledge the desire without judgment,” says Haley Neidich, licensed clinical social worker in Florida. “You can always make the decision to get up if that’s what’s best for your mental health that day, but there’s nothing wrong with having the desire to work from bed occasionally.”
Even though it’s not so great for your neck and back, working from bed may improve your performance on the job. According to The New York Times, many famous people have been extremely productive working from bed. Frida Kahlo, for example, painted some of her masterpieces from bed. Even Winston Churchill dictated to his secretaries as he lingered in bed for an extra-long breakfast.
Use a laptop stand when working from bed to reduce strain on your neck and back.
The best work from bed setup
If you do choose to WFB, here are some tips that can help you do it as efficiently as possible-without ending up with a major case of back pain.
Get up frequently
“If one would choose to work from bed,” says Tozer, “I would recommend getting up every 15-20 minutes to change positions and move around.” Keep things you know you might need (like a phone charger or cup of water) in another room to encourage yourself to get up more often.
Use a laptop stand
Using a laptop stand can help you to work in a more upright position, rather than just being completely horizontal. They can even allow you to use a mouse as you work.
Here are a few we like:
- NEARPOW XXL Bed Table Bed Desk for Laptop($90, amazon.com): This leather table features small drawers, a laptop/book stand, and is extra large to fit all of your necessities. The height is adjustable so it can be customized to work for you in different situations or for multiple people in your home.
- LapGear Home Office Lap Desk with Device Ledge $35, amazon.com): This stand rests directly on your legs, with comfort cushions so there’s a bit of rise between you and the table itself. There’s a handy slot to place your phone upright next to your laptop and room for a mouse. You can use this tray on your couch too.
- Mind Reader Adjustable Portable Desk($13, amazon.com): This basic multi-use stand works to stabilize your laptop. It can also be adjusted at an incline to hold books, spreadsheets, and more. Comfort cushions ensure you can find the position the works best for you.
Invest in an adjustable bed
“The more supportive the bed can be will help,” says Tozer. “If I had to choose a particular bed, I would recommend an adjustable bed.” An adjustable bed can help alleviate back pain, relieve acid reflux, and even curb snoring, so it’s useful just beyond the daytime. (Learn more about the health benefits of an adjustable base.)
Open the curtains
“My one rule for working from bed is to get up, make your bed, and open the curtains before climbing back in,” says Neidich. “While working from your bed when you need a break is fine, you want to make sure that you’re choosing to do it from a positive place. Keeping up with as much of the rest of your routine as possible can help with that.”
Limit how often you work from bed
“I suggest that folks limit working from bed to no more than two days per week, and those two days should not be sequential,” says Neidich. “On those days, making sure you’re taking care of your other activities of daily living-brushing your teeth, eating meals, taking medication-is essential.”
An afternoon nap could improve your work from home productivity. Follow these guidelines for taking an effective nap.