Covid19 hit us all from out of the blue, and one of the things that came along with it was the sudden requirement to work from home. For many of us however, WFH has unfortunately become WFB - #WorkFromBed. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you need to work from your bed on a regular basis.
Your Bed Was Designed For Sleep, Not Work
Have you noticed a niggling pain or soreness in your shoulders, back, arms or wrists of late? It could be that the ergonomics of working with your laptop on your bed are off. While your office work space is likely to have been ergonomically designed to maintain good posture for sitting and working, this is not the case with working from your bed. But there are adjustments you can make.
Here are the likely causes of the aches and pains you’ve been experiencing (And even if you haven’t hadn’t any problems, our tips will ensure that it stays that way!)
Pain In The Upper Back And Neck
Make sure you’re not unconsciously leaning too far forward as you try to view your screen properly. If you notice that you are, first correct your spinal alignment - sit up straight, pushing your hips as far back to the head rest of your bed as you can, using a firm pillow or cushion to help achieve this if required.
Some people find that a smaller cushion just behind the upper back and neck helps maintain the correct posture.
If your laptop is on your thighs while you work on your bed, it could be one of the contributing factors to your upper back and neck ache. It is likely at a position too low, forcing you to lean too far forward, putting a strain on your spine.
The simple adjustment of placing a sturdy book, pillow or cushion below your laptop to slightly elevate it, could resolve this problem.
Pain In Your Shoulders, Neck And Arms
While typing, your elbow joint should form a ninety degree angle where your forearm and upper arm meet. So make sure your laptop is at a distance and height from you to allow for this.
Pain In Your Wrist
Your wrists need to be kept straight and at the same level as your palms while you type; not either drooping down or propped up by the fingertips like you’re playing the piano.
If it’s hard to achieve this while working from your bed, consider placing your laptop on a large, sturdy book, cushion or if you can get one - a breakfast-in-bed tray is the new laptop-in-bed tray!
These pointers also apply if you’re writing in bed as well, so keep them in mind for that too.
You Still Need To Sleep On Your Bed At The End Of The Day
Ideally, you should try to not use the place where you sleep for your work as well; it’s best if your bed is a place you associate only with feelings of rest and relaxation, not the productivity of work, or the stress it can bring. But in these days of Covid19, the ideal may not be possible, so here are a few subtle things that could put you in the right frame of mind for either, as and when required:
- Use a different coloured bedspread for work time - Yellow or Orange if possible, as these are great for boosting productivity.
- Lighting can also make a difference. So use the bright overhead lights for a ‘work time’ feel, and mellow lighting, like low wattage bedside lamps or having fewer lights on, when you want to get into R & R mode.
- There are plenty of little things you could do when you begin to think about it. For example, if your bed has a nice high, sturdy headboard, lean against that for optimum ergonomic support while you work, but at night, when you sleep, lay your head down on the other side of the bed, so you don’t feel like you’re sleeping where you work.
These may seem silly, but subtle mental associations can make a big difference to how our brain subconsciously processes things.
Other Hazards of Working from Bed
Working from your bed is likely to mean that cups of coffee and the occasional snack could also be making their way to your bed, so consider getting a mattress protector; there’s nothing worse than having to deal with a messy mattress when that deadline’s lurking around the corner!
Finally, to ensure productivity, when you sit down to work from your bed, make sure you don’t have to keep getting up every now and then. Make a ‘work box’, filled with a notepad, pens, water bottle, headphones, reference books, reading glasses, maybe a snack too - whatever you usually require close at hand when you work.
If WFB is your new normal, you want to make sure you’re being productive when you have to, but also getting enough calming and rejuvenating sleep when you need it - we hope these tips help!