In a few months, the coronavirus revolutionised the entire world, changing our everyday life and the habits associated with it. Although the home office seemed to be a real salvation for many of us and a welcomed detachment from tedious office reality, it turned out to be quite different. While looking for more convenient solutions, we lost the structure that had, until then, maintained our mental balance. For example, we moved the office to our bed. Was it healthy for us? And can it really be efficient?
Hello, this is Earth
A year ago, when NASA was looking for women whose only task would be to lie in bed, the advertisement on the Internet quickly became known as the “dream-work” ad. Although the home office is not intended to recreate conditions in space, as in the case of the above announcement, many of us have unwittingly switched to such a “cosmic” mode. We decided to do our work according to our idea of the remote mode as presented in modern media.
Who among us has not seen memes about employees who, during videoconferences, sat only in a shirt and boxer shorts with a cheeky smile on their face? No wonder, for many of us, the home office has so far evoked images of a “professional El Dorado” where we sit in pyjamas with our legs propped up on the table, checking emails in pyjamas in bed, or going for a walk whenever we feel like it. What then happened in the companies that, because of the pandemic, sent most of their employees home? Productivity dropped dramatically, and, up to a certain point, so did employee performance.
The need to shake off those fantasies came relatively quickly. Most of us have tasted remote work and – fortunately – abandoned our utopian visions about it. Unfortunately, we haven’t abandoned all of them. It turns out that one of our “remote sins” is working in bed. However, experts are clear on this topic. Dr Sophie Bostock, a sleep expert at University College London, admits that moving work to bed causes posture defects, poor sleep quality, and reduced efficiency. As Dr Bostock points out, for the brain, the bed is intended primarily for rest and relaxation, while work requires focus and generates stress.
Therefore, by abandoning working at a desk, we blur the natural boundaries for our body, risking the deterioration of psychophysical health. In turn, the founder of WeLab, Simon Loong, points out that just staying in pyjamas all day means that we are not able to make a “mental change” to the task mode, which causes more distractions and our efficiency drops.
Cheat the body and brain
When our bed turns into an office, how can our brain and body know when it’s time to focus and work? In this way, we disturb our body, we cheat it, but unfortunately to our own disadvantage. Over time, we will start to have problems with falling asleep, insomnia, ineffective sleep, or interrupted sleep. And insomnia that lasts three days a week for three months is chronic insomnia! This problem, in turn, becomes serious. If you don’t want to sacrifice the comfort that comes with working in bed but don’t want to deal with the consequences, you can “partially” get out of bed. Just replace a regular duvet with a weighted blanket and take it to your desk.
The weighted blanket is a well-known and effective therapeutic tool that reduces tension and has a de-stressing and soothing effect on the nervous system. When you cover yourself with it while working, your brain receives completely different information than with a classic duvet. As a result, the level of cortisol begins to drop, and the production of serotonin increases. Our body, despite the upright position on the chair, rests, and the “untamed” brain can work normally and efficiently. One could say it’s a “win-win” situation!