The couch offers an alluring call when you work remotely from home. If it’s often your go-to place to sit and watching TV or visit with others, then it might be the first spot you think of for plopping down and working on your computer. However, is it really a good idea to work from the sofa when working from home?
While the couch may be calling your name as you pull out your laptop and get to work, it’s important to understand the disadvantages of choosing to work from the sofa throughout the day. Knowing the drawbacks may even help you to avoid them and make working from a sofa an efficient choice. Here are the things you must watch out for if you decide to work from a couch in your home:
- Distractions: If your couch is located in a living room where you also happen to store your television, video game consoles, movies or other electronic possessions, it may be tempting to watch TV or play a game “just for a few minutes” while you’re working. In addition, if you have family or roommates living with you, the room with the sofa tends to be a high-traffic area, increasing the chance that someone may talk to you or pull your attention away from work. If you struggle with focusing on your work, this could make the sofa a no-go.
- Poor Lighting: Not all couches are located in rooms with great lighting. Access to adequate lighting is important for work motivation and overall well-being. Of course, you may be able to work around this drawback by brighter, adjustable lighting or moving your sofa to an area with more natural light, such as a window.
- Blurred Work and Personal Boundaries: One important aspect of working from home is being able to set aside your job outside of work hours. This can be difficult if you don’t have clear boundaries or a strict schedule that you stick to. Working from the sofa can also make it even more difficult to separate relaxation time from work time since you’re trying to relax in the same space you’ve been working in. If you have trouble switching out of work mode, then having a different workspace may be more beneficial for you.
The Posture and Pain Issue
Another sticking point of working from the sofa is that most couch cushions are soft and don’t necessarily promote the greatest posture. In fact, working for hours from the couch can increase the likelihood of slouching, which can lead to curvature of the spine and, ultimately, back pain. For this reason, many experts recommend working from a more ergonomic seating option, such as an office chair. At the very least, you may be able to prevent long-lasting damage to your spine by changing up your seating position day-to-day. For example, you may work from the sofa one day and work from the kitchen table the next.
Another way to give your back a rest from a slouching sitting position is by taking regular breaks to stretch and move. This should help to keep you limber and prevent pain spots from developing. If you do notice posture or pain issues after working from the sofa for an extended period, you may want to find a different spot in the house for working.
Now that we’ve discussed the issues that can arise from choosing to do your remote work from the couch, we can explore the advantages. For some people, working from the sofa is the best solution for a few different reasons:
- Comfort: Even if it does encourage slouching, the sofa is often one of the most comfortable spots in the house. It may be conveniently located where the temperature is just right, where you can charge your laptop or phone easily, and where you can quickly answer your front door. The texture of the cushions can also be inviting. For those who have little trouble working through their daily to-do list, the sofa can be the most comfortable place to work.
- Commute: As in, there is no commute. You just walk to the couch, and you’re at work. You don’t have to stress about traffic jams or other irritable drivers. You can worry less about possibly being late (which some people might also see as a disadvantage). Getting to and from work is just much simpler when you do your job from the sofa.
- Convenience: Need to take a quick break for a snack? From the couch, you’re just a few steps from the kitchen. Want to work in your pajamas? Go for it! Working from the couch makes it convenient to get dressed for work and make sure you get your meals throughout the day.
The Preparations for Successful Sofa Work
If you want to take advantage of the benefits of choosing to work from the sofa, you’ll need to do a little prep work to counter the possible drawbacks first. This possibly means investing in some new furniture and products to make couch work more comfortable. Here are a few things you might consider getting before choosing your sofa seat:
- Reliable Internet Connection: Remote online work requires a stable internet connection, so make sure your home internet service has the bandwidth to let you do your daily tasks. In some cases, your internet connection may even qualify as a tax write-off if you need it to do your work.
- Computer Rest: Whether it’s an ergonomic lap desk or a side table, you need a computer surface that will protect your lap from the heat of the machine and also allow it to properly vent. A good computer rest can help maintain the lifespan of your laptop, so choose something that is both comfortable to use and functional for your needs.
- Comfortable Seat Cushion: Not every couch cushion is comfortable to sit on, but you also want to support good posture. Investing in a quality seat cushion could literally save your backside.
- Back Support Apparatus: Even more importantly, make sure you have the back support you need with either a lumbar support pillow or a back support belt that encourages healthy spine alignment.
- Additional Lighting: If your sofa is in a space that doesn’t allow for much natural light, consider getting a floor lamp with adjustable brightness levels. Use brighter lights for working and softer lights for when it gets darker outside and when it’s time to relax.
- Workspace Variety: Try to keep your options open for how you work by investing in an adjustable worktable that lets you stand or sit as you please. You may also rotate areas of the home where you work, such as working in the kitchen one day and the living room on another.
Ultimately, the decision of where you work in your home is up to your personal preference and needs. The sofa might be your only choice, and that’s fine. Some people may not be as productive when working from the couch and need a separate space. However, you can make working from the sofa work for you. Evaluate the pros and cons of your situation, make the preparations and work away. Whatever option that helps you be your best, most productive self is probably the right answer.