Is it Possible to Work in Bed and be Productive?

As the long, winter nights draw in and icy winds howl, the snug warmth of the bedroom becomes ever more enticing. We begin wistfully to wonder how much time we can get away with spending in bed, and which tasks – usually only accomplishable in the open - can in fact be successfully completed under the duvet.

The sanctuary of the bedroom

The bedroom is seen by most as a sanctuary in which to unwind and escape from the daily grind. But one glance out of the window onto the slate-grey morning can be enough to prompt the question – is it so impossible to work in bed? Some of history’s greatest minds advocated the practice.

Churchill read and dictated letters for several hours every morning from bed.  Leonardo da Vinci spent time each day in bed going over the outlines of artistic forms. The Kings of Medieval France even held official court business in a makeshift bed during a ceremony called Lit de Justice. Mark Twain, F Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edith Wharton all found literary inspiration in bed.

For those wishing to follow in the footsteps (or imprints) of these glorious figures, there are some bedroom essentials that will prove vital to the working process.

The Bed: The aptly-named Churchill Bed from And So To Bed is the perfect bed in which to work, with a padded, enclosed head and foot board to support the worker in stately style. 

The Laptop Stand: With impeccable style and eco credentials, the Vool laptop stand is designed to improve your posture whilst keeping the laptop cool, and is made of the finest pine from an eco-farm on the Finnish-Russian border.

The Cafetierre: In bed, the danger of nodding off can be carefully guarded against with the help of this classic cafetierre by Bialetti which makes up to 6 cups of delicious coffee at a time. 

Lighting: This beautifully designed lamp provides strong light to help you concentrate. Because it can be clamped to the bedside, the lamp can reach over the bed without losing balance.  

So perhaps with the right equipment, diligent work in bed may be possible. However, some historical examples suggest that working in bed can be part of a truly unhinged lifestyle. It was bed-bound that Thomas Hobbes wrote his philosophical formulae on every inch of his bed sheets, moving on to his thighs when space became limited.

Marcel Proust wrote in bed with several pens to hand in case one dropped to the floor - from where, due to a fear of dust, he would refuse to reclaim it. Most people are not, of course deranged geniuses, but there are scientific studies which suggest that working in bed will not do us humble mortals any favours either. It is believed that our quality of sleep can be adversely affected by using the bedroom for work purposes as we start to associate the space with mental stimulation, as opposed to relaxation.

It is also hard to support an upright posture sitting on a soft mattress, which can bend the neck, lessening blood supply to the brain and so slowing thought processes and response times – not ideal for those working to a deadline. Many people interviewed about working in bed also reported an overwhelming degree of distraction in the form of household chores that they would have been easily able to ignore if not abed. For most of us it seems therefore, that working in bed is not a practical option and that the bedroom is probably best used for its original purposes.  But it never hurts to dream!

Posted by Iconography Ltd
12th November 2012

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