Working in bed? Here are all the ways it’s hurting you

There have probably been moments during the pandemic where you’ve struggled with your workstation.

In the beginning, the kitchen counter worked because there was space but the constant shuffle of other household members likely interrupted your routine (and maybe even a Zoom meeting or two). From there, your company threw you a couple hundred dollars to invest in your home office; in came a new desk and chair to resemble some corner of the office, but there are days where the slog of “pandemic wall” catch up to all of us.

To comfort yourself, you find someplace more cozy. The couch worked at first (before the TV started becoming a distraction), so now you’re working from bed.

The idea of working in bed sounds great: it’s comfortable, it’s peaceful, and it’s your space. However, it’s something you probably want to avoid. In the beginning of the pandemic, a quarter of remote workers said they worked from bed. By nearly a year in lockdown, up to 40% of people said they had worked from bed at some point in the pandemic, according to The Guardian.

For American workers, that number is even higher. Seventy-two percent of workers said they are working from bed, a rise of more than 50% before the pandemic, according to a report from Tuck. Nearly one in ten people work 24 to 40-plus hours (or all of their workweek) from their beds.

The rise in sluggish workers contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, where one in four adults average more than eight hours a day on their butts. That number has risen during the pandemic after routines were thrown into flux and social distancing limiting workers to their homes. Rising cases of depression and other hurdles can make it tough to get moving, but while there might be some comfort in working from bed, there’s a few reasons why you want to avoid it.

It hurts your productivity

During the pandemic, you’ve likely felt like you’ve been on cloud nine and at the brink of collapse. In the beginning, workers reported feeling elated having the option to work remotely, as many said that it’s the way of the future and they hoped to continue working from home long after the pandemic ends. As of September, the number of workers that said they wanted to continue working remotely started to dwindle, with respondents saying they wanted to improve their mental health, increase human contact, and boost productivity.

Working from bed isn’t helping the case to remain productive for a number of reasons. The barrier between work and home is sacrificed when workers opt to log in from bed, which can create an always-at-work mindset. Your bed is supposed to be a place where relaxation is first and foremost; it’s not a mixture of both production and rest.

Health professionals have advised to create a separation between work and home — like covering up your work station with a big sheet or creating dividers to block off work from the rest of home — but how does that happen when you work from bed?

It hurts your sleep

If you’re working well past work hours (which people have done during the pandemic), blue light is something you’ve definitely heard about. The sun was once the primary source of blue light, but digital devices like TVs, laptops, and smartphones create their own blue light, which pose health issues that can harm your sleep.

A study by Harvard researchers found that blue light can suppress melatonin, the hormone that alerts your body when it’s time to sleep or wake up. Lounging and working through all hours of the day from bed might be comfortable, but it’s safe to say that it can harm your sleep.

Your body probably hurts

Since we’re moving less than before the pandemic, some have noticed new issues arise with their bodies. From back pain to neck strains, the devices workers are using at home aren’t designed to offer the proper support a body needs to work eight hours every day. Even working full-time from a laptop can pose problems compared to working with a computer and keyboard.

But working from bed can create a tidal wave of maladies no one wants to deal with.

The BBC reported that working from bed can strain the neck, back, and hips and while you might not feel it today, it can come back to harm you in the months and years after. The report noted that younger workers are likely to fall victim to these types of patterns because they won’t feel the strain now, but it will come up later in life.

“These ailments could include simple headaches, and could also extend to permanent stiffness in your back, arthritis and what’s known as cervical pain – that’s pain in the bones, ligaments and muscles in your neck that allow motion,” the report said.