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MIND YOUR BACK

Working from your bed is better than slumping at the kitchen table

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WFB, a la Proust.
  • Anne Quito
By Anne Quito

Design and architecture reporter

Here’s a new reason to stay in bed today: working in a reclined position might just save you from back pain.

“As long as you have something (like a tray) that props your laptop to the right level, I really don’t mind it,” explains Kevin Butler, the chief ergonomist expert at Steelcase, the largest office furniture manufacturer in Europe and North America in terms of revenue, and a long-time telecommuter. There are, of course, psychological pitfalls of working where we sleep, but a bed will often offer better lumbar support than slumping on a low table. “Would I prefer the bed over the kitchen table? Probably,” attests Butler.

Butler’s advice comes during a time when knowledge workers around the world are scrambling to find the right work-from-home configuration, amid Covid-19 self-quarantine and social distancing mandates. Typing on a laptop at a kitchen table often results in back pain because the spine contorts in the opposite direction from its natural S-shape when we sit. Working in bed, propped up on pillows—a work stance preferred by the likes of Marcel Proust, Edith Wharton, Truman Capote and apparently 80% of millennials—that rotation is not nearly as significant. “I’m all in if you want to work in bed in short bursts.”

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