More and more of us are working from home. COVID made it way more common, and not just temporarily. Businesses that sent people home to work during the lockdowns are realizing they can operate remotely and offload the costs of some office space. So now, here many of us are, home during our 9-to-5, staring at a laptop in our PJs sipping coffee from our favorite mug and getting. stuff. done.
However, many of us never planned for this work-from-home life, and might not have a dedicated office. Or there are two of you working from home and only one home office to be had. Where does the other one go that will help them stay just as productive (if not more) as sitting in an ergonomic chair at a desktop. Some people choose the couch; other choose their beds.
But is it possible to be productive from your bed? And who would want to get more done while in the most well-known space for relaxing? It’d be a little bit of cognitive dissonance, no? These are great questions that we’ll explore, because remote work is definitely here to stay.
Everyone knows that proper rest is crucial to good health; chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to conditions like heart disease, dementias, and even higher risk of death. If you’re losing two hours of sleep to hit the gym so you’ll live to be 99, you are working against yourself. Not to mention being labeled a nut for climbing on a treadmill at 4:30 in the morning! Rest, work, and overall health are all about balance, so let’s see if we can find more of it:
Cold & Flu Season: When Bed Work Might be Mandatory
Experts keep warning of the dangers of carrying screens and jobs over into bedtime. Answering work emails at 10 pm is unnecessary, and it’s definitely not going to help you wind down. We cross the line from worker to sleeper all the time, which makes both activities suffer. But sometimes we have no choice but to work from the bedroom.
People get sick and can’t muster the energy to drag themselves to the home office, much less the real office downtown. On those terrible days, you can eke out a couple hours of work on a laptop so deadlines aren’t missed and projects delayed. Getting sick is rough - fired and sick, quite a bit worse!
A similar scenario has played out for many moms and dads, too. Caring for an ill child means comforting them while they lie around all day. Many a parent has snuggled with their kid, watching their fever while taking care of work emails or sending out invoices.
Now envision being bedridden long term. We are not indestructible. Plus, there are tons of dingbat drivers out there! We could end up the victim of an automobile accident that keeps us stuck on the couch or mattress for weeks. A broken leg, for instance, can take anywhere from 2-6 months to heal, during which time we still need to earn an income, especially if you run a business.
In cases like these, we simply have to adapt, because some work is better than none at all when we have no choice. But there are still ways to optimize the cognitive and physical separation between work-bed and sleep-bed…. Even though they’re the same bed.
Crossing Lines Between the Sheets
The biggest issue with trying to be productive 24/7 is that it’s impossible. Show me a person who refuses to rest and I’ll show you someone who will slip up and eventually burn out:
Drowsy driving is responsible for more than 6,000 fatal car crashes every year in the United States.
Nurses working 12.5-hour shifts report committing more than 3x as many medical errors as those working 8.5-hour shifts.
Excessively-sleepy workers are 70% more likely to cause a workplace accident.
Overall, a whopping 13% of all workplace injuries are directly related to sleepiness.
See, working while in bed is not the problem. At least you can’t get into a workplace accident there. Will this help your OSHA statistics? Hmm…
The issue comes from not having boundaries. When the internet is available 24 hours a day and you have endless amounts of work you could do, it’s easy to never let up. Laptops are convenient for being able to take them anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily should take them anywhere. Set some rules for your laptop’s relationship with your bed.
A clearly- defined schedule helps with this. Easier said than done for hard-driving people trying to build a better life for their family. Also, if you are the creative type, inspiration can strike at any time including bedtime. But setting a limit on the number of hours you will work in a day is a must. A firm shutdown time works for others.
Here are a few ways to set those boundaries:
Pick a time of the early evening after which you won’t use your laptop, phone or any other screens and stick to it.
If you need a way to still record your nighttime ideas, put a small notepad and pen on your night table for those middle-of-the-night oh-crap moments.
Keep your laptop in another room so that in the morning you have to get out of bed before you start working. This will help you get into a morning routine that breaks up sleep and work.
Get dressed in the morning.
When you’re done with work for the day, get out of bed and do an activity somewhere else. Make dinner. Drink a glass of wine in the living room. Give your brain time to separate work-bed from sleep-bed before you try to go down for the night.
Reading: Sneaky Productivity while Lying Down
Some people still read. Folks like you, who are reading this right now. Duh! This superpower can be taken inside the bedroom and lead to huge productivity that most people wouldn’t notice as a big deal if you mentioned it. Some of us really can’t ever turn off, and if that’s you, here are a few ways to hybrid work and wind down.
Work emails: What percentage are of enormous importance? Certainly not 100%, but they need to be sorted through. Winding down can be done while scanning your inbox, as long as you promise yourself not to get worked up over anything. Avoid this activity if you can’t keep that promise.
Learning: Turns out you can learn just as much about your company’s new software by reading about the features in bed as at your desk. This sneakily productive habit is a nice replacement for bedtime TV - especially if you’ve been hooked on your guilty-pleasure shows lately. Although, some of us do like to hate-watch The Bachelor. Shhh…
Idea gen: Reading fiction at bedtime can help generate ideas, either for business or for fun. Author, Tim Ferris recommends fiction over non-fiction so your mind stays in the present; even if that present is inside the mind of a handmaid in Gilead. You focus less on yourself and more on a story, allowing you to separate your work-self from yourself who needs to get to sleep soon.
Low effort that makes you more productive is a no-brainer. And reading is incredibly powerful even if you’re about to doze off, especially considering the neural connections that happen during sleep which boost our ability to process information.
Limited Space: Out of Sight, Out of Mind
If the idea from working from bed is a no for you under any circumstances, there are a few ways to make sure it’s never a possibility at all. Well, not unless absolutely necessary, at least. Space-saving and hybrid mattress options can not only free up more bedroom space during the day but can also erase your mattress from your room when it comes time to get work done.
One of these options is the space-saving Murphy bed. A Murphy bed is a bed that folds into a closet or cabinet during the day. This can ensure you aren’t lured to your bed to scroll social media or binge your favorite show during work hours. You can even choose a Murphy bed with a fold-down desk so that when the bed is put up you’ve also got a dedicated work space. Does this still kind of count as working from bed, though? Unclear.
Another option along similar lines is the sofa bed mattress. A sofa bed is a bed that doubles as a couch, and the bed’s mattress folds away to be stored in the couch when not in use. While this serves the same purpose as the Murphy bed, it also allows for a relaxation space for breaks during work that doesn’t come with the same downsides as lying in bed.
A sofa bed is perfect for when you want to work in an extremely relaxed environment that still promotes productivity, like if you’re ill or injured. Getting work done on a sofa bed will have the same comforting benefits of working from bed but it won’t confuse your brain into think you’re actually in bed, since you’re not in your bedroom. Getting a sofa bed solely for productivity during late-night work- from- home sessions is a life hack that can boost your workflow.
Comfort in Non-Traditional Work Spaces is Easy Now
Imagine trying to work in bed in 1985. First of all, your laptop would have been a desktop PC the size of a DeLorean. Plus, the only accessory would be a pillow. In the modern age, you can click around to find tons of products that make productivity possible anywhere.
Mattress desks like this
Workstations to keep your lap cool
Mobile desks to go from sofa to bed
Stand-up desks for when you need to stretch
Voice-activated devices don’t require jumping out of a warm bed
There’s no question we’ve got it made with all these products that make work more comfortable from any room in the house, while camping, or by the pool. Truckers still have to hit the road, but digital workers have limitless options for working how, when, and where they want.
The bed has become what the couch was just a few years ago. Innovative companies have created a better environment for getting things done without aggravating wire entanglement, stiff necks, or getting fried by a hot laptop. There are more things to get done in a day than in 1985.
In addition to comfort while working being easier than ever, creating boundaries between your bed and your home-office is as well. Options like that sofa bed mattress or space-saving Murphy bed can make saving space for the at-home workday and separating your workspace from your sleep space a much easier task, even for people in studios or tiny homes.
Creation Nation: The Age of Never-Ending Content Generation
Ok, some results of the web expanding have not been so wonderful. Example - hotdog influencers. Yet, the options for creators to create are still exploding. It’s quite amazing to see artists and innovators making things like:
Inspiring fitness videos
25-second painting time lapses
Informative podcasts with more than soundbites
The public aware of homelessness and other social issues
This content creation train is rolling along furiously with no end in sight. The cool thing? That this is the ultimate form of remote work. No boss to check in with, and these creators have no idea what a timeclock is - congrats!
This work can be done in bed, on the couch, or while sunbathing - which is content all its own in some cases! And believe it or not, there is a great deal of work involved in this creator economy. A podcast doesn’t just happen, for example. There’s a lot involved, like:
Outreach to listeners
Ads and sponsorships
The final product is shiny and clean, but the grunt work to get there is behind the scenes and eats up massive time. That’s why so many content creators on social media platforms are working long hours, even though they make their lifestyle seem all glitz, glamor and vacations. Long days turn into long nights, so it’s crucial they have a bedroom setup made to transform into a digital workstation at least part-time.
Mobile World Marching On
Given all this, it’s easy to see how and why our beds now make up part of our productivity centers. The secret is to flow along with our mobile world. Trying to stand still will only get you left behind. Time marches on and work keeps changing in the process.
It’s pretty cool, honestly, running your accounting business from your kitchen table, maybe becoming the next chess influencer from your king-size bed? Easy choice, right?
We spend one-third of our lives in bed, unless you’re like that gym-nut we mentioned. And mattresses have been part of our lives ever since the first hominids had sense enough to put down some soft material for their family to sleep on. Lucky for us, the way we use our beds keeps evolving with lifestyles that increasingly require mobility and flexibility.
Is Sleep Productivity?
At the beginning of this article, we posed the question: “is productivity possible from bed?” And hopefully, after digesting how much our world and beds have changed, you’ve found that answer is yes, it can be. Many of us don’t really have a choice – we’ve simply got to find ways to make our bedroom a productive place.
As we continue to treat our homes (and beds) as offices, we can forget about the importance of actual sleep, one of the most productive things we can do for our minds and bodies. A continuous lack of sleep can contribute to risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, impaired memory, and many more health issues, both physical and psychological. You can't get work done if you don’t have your health.
The average adult should be getting 8 hours of sleep, but many of us scrape by on less because sleep isn’t considered productive, and we’ve a lot to get done each day. Without a quality snooze, we won’t be able to perform well at work, in the gym, or show up positive and excited for our family and social life. The best thing you can do to boost your productivity is make sure you’re sleeping well, with a solid bedtime routine in place before you jump onto your mattress.
The Simplest Route to Better Sleep: A Custom Mattress
One of the best ways to boost the quality of sleep you get is to upgrade your mattress. Per a National Sleep Foundation study, 92% of surveyors say that a comfortable mattress can improve a night’s sleep. The best way to get the perfect snooze is to create a custom mattress that caters to your needs.
Whether you sleep well on memory foam beds or think a custom coil mattress is the change you need, we can build a product that gets you to sleep quickly. We also create custom mattresses for sofa beds and daybeds if you want to create a separate, cozy workspace that isn’t your actual bed.
Is productivity possible from bed? Yup – both day and night.