By SuperWAHM’s Melinda Jameson*
Experts around the world seem to agree that the bedroom is a place for resting, sleeping and taking a break — working from your bedroom should be avoided at all costs!
A lot of us probably understand that working from a bedroom can be counterproductive, but, most importantly, it can negatively affect our sleep as our brain may start associating — what should be a place to switch off and chill — with work! ☕
And while we might absolutely agree with this sentiment, what sounds great in theory isn’t always easy in practice.
In an ideal world and under ‘normal’ circumstances, I would not work from my bed. But lately, the world has been far from ideal, and circumstances have been anything but normal!
To say that the pandemic has changed the rules of ‘normality’ is an understatement.
Working and learning from home have become more common than EVER. For many families like mine, that means adults work from home, and kids do their school work at home.
Lot’s of people, myself included, simply don’t have the space to accommodate everyone. Working from the bedroom and my actual bed — whether for an entire day or just for a few hours — has become the only option.
Here is some advice on how to make your bedroom and bed more work-friendly — without compromising on your much-needed downtime. 🧘🏾
How to work from home better when your bed is the only space available:
1. Productivity vs downtime
Experts agree that our brain should associate beds with sleep and not work. When your bed becomes the environment where you do both, the next best thing is to find as many points of difference as possible.
Simple changes such as avoiding work in your pyjamas and using a firm cushion as back support instead of your nighttime pillow can help your brain separate productivity from relaxation.
An easy trick is to switch sides of the bed! When I work, instead of sitting on the side where I usually sleep, I move to the other side that my husband occupies more frequently.
2. Ergonomic workspace
When your bed is also your desk, being comfortable and maintaining good posture is a top priority.
A bed head and some firm padding can make a BIG difference in ensuring your back and neck stay upright. While I love my contour pillow when I sleep, using it during the day is a big no-no, as it’s important that it remains my bedtime pillow.
3. Good mattress
There’s no doubt that a good mattress can have a hugely positive impact on your sleep. Quality and comfort are just as crucial for those hours spent upright.
A mattress that is dust-mite free, allows for air circulation and has the right firmness will help you not only during the night but also while you’re hunched over your laptop.
4. Get yourself a laptop tray
Laptops should NOT go on laps! One of the biggest problems people who use laptops on their lap have is that they end up spending too much time with their necks and chins facing down.
This position can have painful and adverse effects on the neck, shoulders and back. Investing money on a laptop tray is highly recommended.
These trays can elevate your screen and keyboard to eye level. Think of the money spent on a laptop tray as money saved on physiotherapy.
5. Background screen for online meetings
Not everyone needs to know you’re working from your bed. If you have a video call or an online meeting, background screens work a treat! There are tonnes of free options available for download.
6. Illuminate Your Space
No matter where you are, good lighting should always be the number one priority! One of the benefits of working from home is that — generally speaking — private homes have more natural light than traditional offices.
For those who need extra light, it’s worth considering a flexible clip-on light as it can go from pointing towards your keyboard to your face when you have online meetings. The best position for the light is facing you.
7. Establish and keep boundaries with your family
Physical space aside, when an entire family find themselves stuck at home, boundaries are easily crossed! In fact, I like to say that there’s often a fine line between a productive at-home-worker and a ‘family slave’.
Surely, a certain level of chaos is inevitable, butyour kids and your partner must know what your working hours are and on what occasions you can be interrupted.
Not everyone has the luxury of a space that can accommodate an entire family working or studying at home full time.
Although not ideal, the bedroom (and our bed) is often the only space available that’s a quiet environment in which to be productive.
I hope these tips can help you turn your bed into a productive space while doubling as a peaceful environment for a good night’s sleep. 🕊️
About the Author*
Melinda Jameson’s goal in founding SuperWAHM was to help women earn money while working from home and still have plenty of time to spend with their children and partners.