There is hope yet for haters of the treadmill desk, for people who despise cubicles, or, simply, for folks who don't really enjoy getting out of bed in the morning, much less commuting. Enough people are working from home in their beds (and, no, this is not a sex scandal thing) that Sue Shellenbarger has addressed it in a piece in The Wall Street Journal. "Is clacking away on a laptop while sprawling on bed sheets more comfortable and productive than hunching over a desk?" she asks. Of course it is! (Full disclosure: Writing this while hunched over a coffee table nowhere near a bed.)
A couple things to note. There have been real live studies done on this stuff. The researchers say that since so many of us now in the workplace have been brought up with our mobile devices, we're increasingly prone to using them whichever way is most comfortable—"while propped against pillows, lying down or in a fetal curl." Personally, I like to read Twitter on my iPhone while reclining on my mattress, though often the hand holding the phone will fall asleep, and sometimes I'll drop the phone on my face, which is not entirely pleasant. Despite these difficulties, I am not alone, even if I'm alone in their peculiarities. Lots of people are working from bed. Shellenbarger writes that "half of 1,000 workers polled this year by Good Technology, a Sunnyvale, Calif., mobile-security software company, said they read or respond to work emails from bed. A study of 329 British workers found nearly 1 in 5 employees spends two to 10 hours a week working from bed, according to the 2009 poll by Credant Technologies, a London-based data-security company." Further, "Market research by Reverie, a Walpole, Mass., maker of adjustable beds, suggests as many as 80 percent of young New York City professionals work regularly from bed, says chief executive Martin Rawls-Meehan."
While working from bed might be something you don't want to tell your cubicle-minded boss about, this habit tends to be common among those who want to get ahead, respond the most quickly, or simply never stop working. Ah, there's the rub. Work-from-bedders are just workaholics of a sort! The business beauty of this is not lost in the makers of work-from-bed products, so there are all sorts of them on the market: adjustable beds with built-in outlets, soft desks, folding bed trays, office-beds (which sort of look like chaises), lounge chairs with headboards and pillows to lean back on, giant beds that you could live on for weeks, big pillows to prop your work on, and so on. You can buy this stuff for your "artisanal office," too, they hint-hint:
"Maybe people will say, 'I'll work there instead of working from my bed tonight,' " says James Ludwig, vice president of global design.
Of course, all these bedverachievers need to sleep sometime. Working in a bed might, in fact, make you sleepier, yet if you work from bed all the time, maybe you're not sleeping at all. Another down side is that working from bed probably not all that great for your neck (or your body). Humans were meant to move, not lie with computers in satin sheets. Plus, didn't we try this bed thing with restaurants and decide we'd rather sit in chairs, if only to avoid getting spaghetti all over our crisp white work shirts?
Maybe for now we can compromise and work from the couch. After all, it's not like we're all Truman Capote. He can work wherever he wants.
Image via Shutterstock by fotoedu.