The Wall Street Journal reports that researchers "who study work habits say a new generation reared on mobile devices is increasingly accustomed to using them while propped against pillows, lying down or in a fetal curl:"
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.
The Good Technology survey found:
the average American puts in more than a month and a half of overtime a year – just by answering calls and emails at home…. [M]ore than 80 percent of people continue working when they have left the office - for an average of seven extra hours each week – almost another full day of work. That's a total of close to 30 hours a month or 365 extra hours every year. They’re also using their cell phones to mix work and their personal life in ways never seen before.
While 60 percent do it simply to stay organized, almost half feel they have no choice because their customers demand quick replies. Thirty-one percent of respondents admit to continuing to work at home as they find it hard to ‘switch off.’ Half of Americans can’t even put their phone down while in bed, as they read or respond to work emails after climbing under the covers.
(Good, btw, has found similar things in other countries: 88 percent of people in a recent Australian survey "said that they worked on their mobile devices outside regular working hours," while "35 percent checking their phones and emails in bed" and "24 percent of respondents fought with their partners over working on their mobile devices outside of work.")
The habit of working is bed is problematic because it can contribute to insomnia, ergonomic problems, and strain in your relationship. Of course, this isn't just a problem; for some, it's a catastra-tunity! The Wall Street Journal explains:
Reverie, a Walpole, Mass., maker of adjustable beds... is pushing to change the hospital image of adjustable beds to appeal to younger consumers, showing them how elevating the head or foot can ease strain while watching TV or working.
Reverie also offers a built-in power outlet in the base of its beds to plug in lamps, televisions or laptops. Both the outlet and the bed's movement can be operated with a hand-held remote, or with the user's smartphone or tablet via built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Granted, some people do manage to get some good work done in bed, so this isn't necessarily bad for everyone; but it strikes me that it's not one a trend we should encourage, and that as users we should avoid it if we can.