We are over a year into the COVID19 Pandemic, and the end is nowhere in sight.
Work from Home (WFH) has been the norm for many people, and many are making huge adjustments, in order to work comfortably while WFH. Some buy ergonomic chairs, some have to adjust the home furniture layout, some have little choice but to work from the bed – competition for space at home, and also noise and distractions at home.
The bed may also prove to be more appealing for some, easy and convenient to stretch out, lie down, relax in between calls, and ZOOM meetings.
However, working from the bed is not a good idea. Experts say it is the worst place to work from, be it to use your laptop, write letters or sign documents. It is difficult to maintain a good posture if one is working from the bed and doing so for a long period can cause aches and pains – back and neck.
Placing the laptop on the thighs can cause a strain on one's neck when one keeps looking downwards at the screen. One also tends to slouch as the back is not fully supported. For some, Lying on one's stomach on the bed while working – bad idea – as the spine going into hyper-extension and may result in back aches and pain. At the same time, people who lie on their stomach to work also need to prop themselves up by their elbows – putting unnecessary pressure on their elbows and pressure on the nerve – causing numbness.
People who work from the bed may also find it difficult to sleep at night.
However, with new waves of COVID19 across so many countries, and shutdowns, WFH, MCO (movement control order), many do not have a lot of options.
Here are some tips to help alleviate the problem if you have to work from your bed.
- Use the bed as a seat, and not lean back on the headboard or lie down on the pillow to work.
- Set a table to enable you to sit on the bed and work at the right table height – with your computer and elbow supported. Investing in a computer table with adjustable height and rollers will help in this. If you do not have a computer table, try to get a computer stand to ensure that the computer screen is at your eye level.
- Avoid sitting in the fixed position for extended period of time. Try to move around at least every 2 hours, to stretch and relax.
- When making a phone call, take the opportunity to stand and walk around the room. Investing in a pair of Bluetooth earphones will help in this.
- Set schedule to start and stop work, with some short slots for rest in between, and keep to it. This is to enable you to have sufficient time to rest and also spend time with family.
- Try to change attire for work – even working from bed. The brain associate bed with rest and sleep. When working from bed and still in PJs, the body does not recognize when to stop work and rest. Changing attire may help in this.
- Drink water to keep yourself hydrated – especially when you are in the airconditioned room.
A bit of effort and planning will go a long way to make WFH and work from bed more comfortable and less painful on your back and neck. This is important as we do not know how long this WFH will continue, and also the lines of work and relaxation often gets blur while WFH. Many are unavoidably spending more hours in from of their computers or laptops while WFH, then when they were working in the office.
Adapted from various sources including: