With the pandemic still affecting many parts of the world, work and school continue to be conducted predominantly from home. A 2020 report showed that 56% of employees worldwide began to work remotely as physical offices shut down due to COVID-19. Even though companies are gradually opening their offices in 2021, the hybrid way of working will most likely remain as the world transitions towards a post-pandemic era.
However, a dedicated home office is a luxury not everyone can have, especially those accustomed to conventional ways of working. The lack of space for a comfortable separate work area can be a hassle, especially when sharing and managing the area with other family members. There is also the disturbance from the surrounding area that can interfere with one’s ability to focus on any task.
Reimagining the bedroom for work
This condition drives employees to be creative with the choice of workspace to maintain performance. According to a 2021 report, 24% of American employees surveyed chose to work outdoors, while 21% preferred to work in the closet. One more popular solution is to set up a workspace in the bedroom to gain more privacy and have fewer distractions from other areas that have more activity in terms of regular household chores. Despite the benefits, working from the bedroom–especially in bed–has several side effects.
The internal concept of the bedroom as a place to rest may lead you to become unproductive as the distinction between work and personal time becomes blurred. When working from the bed, you might find difficulty in falling asleep because your brain gradually associates it with a place of work. In addition, the constant radiation of blue light from computer screens and other electronic devices will also disrupt one’s sleep duration, cycle, and overall quality of sleep.
With all these facts, you might be wondering if working from the bedroom may not be such a good choice after all. In reality, it can still be a viable choice if certain adjustments are made. Below are some tips on how you can effectively set and organize your bedroom workspace.
- Separate the work and sleep area
Maintaining a clear boundary between your focus and relaxation zones is crucial for you to productively work from your bedroom. To do so, consider using a room divider. Among the many options are curtains, wood-slatted partitions, upholstered screens, frosted glass walls, and pegboards. If you are tight on budget and wish to repurpose some of the furniture you already have, consider optimizing your bookshelf or a drawer as a divider.
Using curtains is also a good idea for a small and medium-sized room to install on the ceiling or walls. After you finish work for the day, close the curtain to mark the day as complete. After which, you can enjoy unwinding in your relaxation area without getting distracted by the sight of your workspace.
When setting up the desk, make sure to place it away from the bed. You can place it either on the opposite end of the room or facing it away from the bed. This will help you to stay focused and productive instead of wanting to lay down on the cozy mattress every 5 minutes. You may also opt for a folding desk that you can easily close after work.
- Pay attention to the ergonomics of your workspace
Having a dedicated space to work at home is a privilege not everyone can afford. Oftentimes, working from the bed is the only option available as you only need a desk tray you can fold away easily and not a full desk to support your laptop. The problem with working from the bed is that it is not good for your physical and psychological health.
It is very important to change your posture from time to time and support various parts of your body, which sitting on the bed cannot provide. Therefore, make sure to sit on an upright chair as much as possible while you are working. Investing in an ergonomic chair would be a great idea. Otherwise, you can repurpose a dining chair by adding a pillow or a cushion to help you feel comfortable sitting on it for a long duration.
Preventing neck and back pain while working can be done in several ways. If you are using a computer with a separated screen and keyboard, try to place the screen at eye level or higher than the keyboard. This adjustment will reduce the tension around your neck and back area and help sustain a good posture.
- Set the ambiance with lighting to boost productivity
Ideally, you are encouraged to set up your workspace in close proximity to a window. Having a naturally, well-lit workspace is preferable because it can improve performance by providing necessary lighting for your visual tasks. Several studies also indicate that people who work in an environment with natural light and open windows experienced an increase in attention and alertness.
Nevertheless, it might be a hassle for people living in a dense area where houses are practically pressed against each other, allowing little to no natural light inside. An example would be living in a condominium in the middle of a bustling and polluted city which disables people from having their windows open. In addition, taller buildings may also potentially be blocking sunlight to seep into the room. Therefore, how to make sure you still receive adequate lighting?
The alternative is to use a desk lamp with adjustable lighting so you can control the light according to your preferences and needs. A LED lamp can be a good option since it allows more light to be focused on actual working areas and direct it towards the area where it is most required. There are also available options that allow you to control the color and intensity of a LED lamp via Bluetooth on your phone.
- Make sure your desk is clutter-free
Research has shown that the resulting turmoil from a cluttered and untidy environment can interfere with our ability to concentrate. Your brain’s ability to digest information can also be limited if there is clutter as it can disrupt your attention span. Hence, it is important to keep your workspace clean and organized to be more productive and retain your focus on your tasks.
One alternative to free up space on your desk is to maximize your walls by setting up vertical shelves. Here, you can store work-related books and paper holders for when you need to check them out. Decorating your shelves with pictures, small table plants, or awards you have received would be a great option, too.
Consider using storage spaces such as containers with compartments to organize stationery, writing materials, and other necessary items accordingly so it will be easy to store and find items you need for work. Documents can be stored in a filing tray, magazine holder, or a similar type of filing organizer; each section can be creatively marked using different colors of files and labels. Immediately declutter broken items and those you no longer need to free some space; that way, you will not get stressed out from keeping the excess of junk in your room.
- Decorate your workspace
Add a touch of your personality to your work area. Putting up some wall art and ornaments will help enhance the aesthetic of your space. Mix and match colors and objects that represent you as a person to make the environment more vibrant. This way, you can both hone your creativity and feel more inspired while working from your bedroom.
Experiment with different patterns in your decor. Pick a few of your favorite prints and textures and mix them together to complement your furniture, curtain, and walls. Usually, it is suggested that these patterns should stay within the same color palette for a harmonious look. Nevertheless, exploring your taste and creativity is highly recommended.
To spark a calming atmosphere, consider adding indoor plants to your workspace set up. Be it a potted plant on the desk or a hanging one on the wall, feel free to adjust according to the availability of your space. If you are worried about not being able to take care of a plant, artificial greenery might be the best choice.
In conclusion, the key to creating an effective work environment in your bedroom is balancing your professional and personal needs. Identifying what works best for you and what does not is a wise start to visualize what your workspace is going to look like. Remember that your health and productivity are among the main aspects that you need to consider when rearranging your room. Last but not least, allow your creativity to flow.