The allure of working from bed is strong – but turning your mattress into your office can trigger a slew of health problems, both psychological and physical.
For many people, working from home, or ‘WFH’, has also come to mean ‘WFB’ – working from bed. Getting dressed and commuting to an office has been replaced by splashing water on your face and cracking open a computer as you settle back under your blanket. A staggering number of people are setting up shop on their mattresses; according to a November 2020 study, 72% of 1,000 Americans surveyed said they had worked remotely from their bed during the pandemic – a 50% increase since the start of the crisis. One in 10 reported they spent “most or all of their workweek” – 24-to-40 hours or more – in bed. This is especially true of young workers; in the UK, workers aged 18 to 34 are the least likely to have a proper desk and chair, and are twice as likely to work from bed than older workers. But WFB isn’t just for lack of a proper chair – many simply love the cosiness and ease of the set-up. On Instagram, the #WorkFromBed hashtag pulls up thousands of photos, many of them featuring smiling people snuggled up in their pyjamas with cups of coffee, maybe even breakfast on a tray. But the reality is that turning your bed into your office can trigger a slew of health problems, both psychological and physical. And even if you don’t notice them now, adverse effects – possibly permanent – could emerge later on in life.