If there was any not-terrible consequence of the pandemic, it was the switch to remote work for tens of millions of us. Yes; we all went home for the lockdowns, but many of us never went back. And working from home is great!. No long commutes, no fast-food lunches, and no dealing with coworkers you don’t like at 7am.
But there were unforeseen consequences to this mass switch to remote work: many of us don’t have dedicated offices in our home. Or maybe we do, but in a two-income household, one partner gets the office and one partner gets… well…
This has led many a displaced worker to use their bedroom as a home office. And we love that energy. Comfy pajamas, plush pillows and soft cotton bedding at your “desk”, a headboard that creates a convenient green screen during Zoom calls, and a TV across the way if you’re someone who uses noise to help concentrate. Here for it.
The issue that arises here, though, is the new dichotomy of a space that previously was just for resting. A quiet oasis to unwind after a long, stressful day is now also the place where you have that long, stressful day. So how can we make our bedroom-offices a productive place without sacrificing a relaxing evening and a solid sleep?
We’ll tell you! Here are 5 ways to keep your work and sleep spaces separate even though they’re the same space:
1. Separate Sleep and Work.
If you’re stuck resorting to the office-bedroom hybrid while working from home, creating separate spaces in your bedroom is an important first step to take. Setting up clear zones of distinction between your workspace and your sleep and relaxation space will help you truly clock out when the workday is over.
This work-leisure delineation can be as simple as a room divider. Curtains, partitions, cork boards and frosted glass are all options that look great while remaining effective. Once your workday is complete, or it’s time for a break, step out of the work zone and into your relaxation zone.
Other ways to separate productivity and relaxation when your bedroom is your office include:
Keep your laptop and any paperwork off your nightstand.
Consider building a Murphy desk. When work is over, fold that thing up and don’t look at it for the rest of the night.
Make your bed at the start of the day and work over top of the bedding. Grab a throw blanket if you’re chilly.
2. Make Work More Comfortable.
If room dividers aren’t an option, tweaking your sleeping arrangements may be worth considering. . If space isn’t an issue and you want to marry both sleep and work without the pitfalls, consider the benefits of a sofa bed mattress.
Picture this: a sofa bed mattress that doubles as a sofa during moments of pure leisure and productivity, and a comfortable bed when you want to get work done during late nights or want to relax during boring Zoom meetings. A sofa bed mattress can make work far more tolerable and enjoyable, especially if you have an old office chair that hurts your back.
A sofa bed can be treated as a middle ground where work can be done at a more leisurely place without compromising the importance the mattress in your bedroom holds. We can create custom beds, either foam or coil, that can perfectly suit your existing or soon to be purchased sofa bed.
Or how about a space-saving Murphy bed? Both are great options to separate work and sleep without compromising on space. A space-saving Murphy bed can both make setting up an office as far from your bed as your room allows easy. Even better, custom mattresses make these options more efficient and comfortable than ever .
A few other ways you can make work more comfortable without making it too comfortable include:
Get a lap desk if you’re not working at a typical desk.
Get a standing desk to keep your posture on point.
Sleep alone? Try a wide daybed that doubles as a couch and a bed.
3. Put Work Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
If your bedroom features a large closet, another strategy to combat work-from-home fatigue could be to pack up your office at the end of the day and hide that workspace clutter.
When it’s time to log off, simply store away your computer and documents for the day. Couple this with some stylish storage containers for anything left over and it will be much easier to stop your bedroom from turning into a cubicle.
The key to making this effective is combining style and utility. Don’t just cram the clutter into an open box or hide it under your bed. Find a method that maintains the calming presence a bedroom should have.
4. Get Dressed
Working from your bedroom can disrupt sleep, but it can also disrupt productivity. Instead of those projects and deadlines keeping you up, daydreaming of napping and lounging around watching Netflix may stop you from getting work done in the first place.
A straightforward way to curb these disruptions is to prepare for the day as if you’re headed to the office. Instead of rolling out of bed 10 minutes before it’s time to clock in, give yourself time to get ready and switch out those pajamas for clothes you would actually leave the house in.
This doesn’t mean you have to put on a suit and tie but having a distinct difference between loungewear and workwear is a surefire way to remind your brain and body when it’s time for work and when it’s time for relaxation.
Other ways to get more energized for work by getting dressed include:
Dress in your active wear to anticipate working out later.
Do your makeup, if that’s a regular thing for you.
Start your day with a workout so that by the time you start work, you’ve already done two outfit changes and had a shower.
5. Don't Work in Bed.
Working in your bed isn't for everyone. If separating your bedroom workspace and sleep space is not an option, at the very least having a lap desk or vanity to work from is key. Being crammed in the corner is often still a better option than working from bed.
If the dimensions of your bedroom leave you no options, it’s time to think about other solutions for a home workspace. Making an agreement with family/roommates for shared spaces, commandeering the kitchen table, and even working from the living room couch are all better options than taking on a day's work from your bed.
But if you’ve really got no other options, there are a few things you can do to make it feel like you’re not working in bed:
Always make your bed; add a stiff duvet to seal all that cushy comfort in.
Always do your morning routine and get dressed before you start working.
Spend time outside of your bedroom after work and before you go to sleep.
Setting Boundaries Between Bedtime & Work Time
It may seem obvious, but too often remote work means your boss may expect you to be always on the clock. While this can be frustrating no matter where you’re working from, it has the most potential for damage in the bedroom.
The last thing anyone needs to do is check their work email right as they’re preparing to lie down for the night. Establishing strict boundaries between your time on the clock and your time off will help eliminate the possibility of sleepless nights.
Shutting down all your devices, leaving late messages for tomorrow, and ensuring your coworkers know you are logged off for the night should be a consistent evening routine for anyone working from their bedroom.
Of course, working from home may come with a few long days or some extra work that gets done outside of office hours, but this should never become a habit. Mental health and sleep should always come first. Extend this idea to bedtime, where you should leave at least an hour between your last screen time – laptop and phone – and when you try to lay down for sleep. Screen time too close to bed disrupts melatonin cycles.
Planning for the Permanence of Working from Home
Working from home can be a wonderful aspect of modern life, and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. If it’s right for you, it can be a truly life-changing approach to your career. And taking these extra steps can ensure the experience is positive and not overwhelming. It’s always important to prioritize sleep as if it’s your mission.
One of the best ways to maximize your sleep so you stay fresh and concentrated the following day is replacing your mattress with something that is custom-fit to your needs. Is it time for an upgrade? If your productivity is declining and your body isn’t getting the standard 8 hours of sleep needed, maybe you need to reinvest in comfort.
CustomMattress.com can help you with any type of mattress – whether it’s that pullout couch, oversized daybed, or your actual bed. A bed customized to the size, shape, thickness, firmness, with custom bedding you prefer can change work, sleep, or both, helping you create the best hybrid space possible.