After two years of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, chances are you will have worked from the comfort of your bed at least once.
And with more people working from home than ever before, many of us are opting for the ‘soft office’ long-term.
While working from bed (WFB) newbies may simply enjoy the cosiness, flexibility and ease of the setup, it’s not actually a sign of laziness.
For some disabled and chronically ill people, myself included, WFB is essential and allows us to take care of our health while holding down our jobs.
The pandemic has clearly increased the number of people working where they sleep – with many attending Zoom meetings, sending emails and taking client calls from under their duvets.
In fact, according to a study carried out last year, 38% of teleworkers admitted they regularly work from bed.
However, working from bed can trigger physical and mental health problems if we aren’t careful.
So how can we improve our WFB setups to ensure we protect our posture, avoid aches and pains, and take care of our minds?
Speaking with Metro.co.uk, Helen O’Leary, physiotherapist and director of Complete Pilates, recommends using a pillow to prop ourselves up and support our lower back while leaning onto a wall or headboard – as this can actually worsen posture.
She also suggests putting pillows under our legs to reduce the long sitting position, which can lead to back pain.
‘Pillows reduce the pressure around your lower back but can force you into a long slumped position,’ Helen says.
‘Now and then, check to see whether you have slumped down and wriggle yourself back up.’
Movement and changing positions regularly should also help keep aches and pains at bay, and some exercises can help and offer some relief.
‘Pumping your feet up and down to get the blood flow moving around your legs, squeezing your thighs to keep working your legs and squeezing your buttocks to activate your glutes are all easy things you can do even throughout meetings,’ suggests Helen, who is also a pilates instructor.
To help our necks, Helen suggests gentle movements, such as taking our ear to our shoulder, nodding our chin to our chest and looking over each shoulder.
She adds: ‘Shoulder rolls are great, as well as stretching your arms up towards the sky to get a bit of extension in your spine.
‘But if you get any persistent pain that does not go away with different positions and is not normal for you, speak to your GP or physio.’
Get the right equipment
In terms of an office setup, Helen suggests using a tray table or laptop raiser to lift the laptop screen to chest level to avoid neck strain – as well as a separate keyboard that can sit lower, to ensure we are stretching for it.
Be wary of sleep disruption
Working from bed can be great if we keep moving. However, some people may feel unable to ‘switch off’ as there is no separation between the place we work and sleep.
In turn, it may also hinder our sleep schedules.
‘Your bedroom should be a calm and peaceful place for sleep and intimacy. But, if you start associating it with work, you may struggle to unwind before going to sleep,’ Helen explains.
‘Sleep helps us recover mentally and physically, so if you start to see changes in your normal pattern, try moving your work out of the bedroom.’
If the soft office is no longer working for you, try moving to your sofa or investing in a comfy ergonomic desk chair.
While working from bed may not always be best for our physical and mental health, in many cases there is no other option.
And after two years of WFH, I think WFB is here to stay.
Source: Read Full Article