Remote work has become increasingly popular, and setting up a home office comes with the territory.
But what if you don’t have a spare room that you can dedicate as your home office workspace?
Can you work from your bedroom instead?
This is an important topic so don’t skip ahead.
Is It Okay To Have A Bedroom Office?
Although your bedroom might seem like the perfect place to have a home office, existing and ongoing research indicates that using a bedroom for this purpose can result in both sleep and mental health issues because you’re never truly disconnected from work.
This was my own experience of having a home office in my bedroom – something I did for years. I discontinued this practice once I realized how much of a negative impact it had on my mental and overall health.
Let’s take a look at some of the established beliefs about the pros and cons of setting up a home office in your bedroom.
Pros and Cons of Bedroom Home Office
- Allows you to utilize limited space efficiently.
- It provides privacy, essential for focused work.
- It can be challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance when your workspace is in your bedroom.
- You may find it hard to relax and unwind after work since your work environment is so close to your sleeping area.
- Your bedroom won’t allow for an ergonomic setup that a dedicated office space would offer (e.g., proper chair, desk, and lighting).
- Potential distractions from your bedroom surrounding
- Science suggests that working in your bedroom is not ideal, as it can disturb your sleep pattern.
- Spending too much time in your bedroom without taking breaks or moving around can lead to feelings of isolation and may negatively impact your mental and physical health.
As you can see, the Pros of using your bedroom as an office area far, far outweigh the cons.
And with good reason because it provides an accurate picture of exactly why it’s such a terrible idea.
Imagine telling your boss you were going to set up a sofabed beside your desk and that’s where you were going to spend the night.
How do you think they’d react?
Their first move would be to tell you that HR won’t allow it, that it’s not permissible by your contract of employment, and that it’s just a really, really bad idea. The sad truth is that this kind of thing happens all the time in the modern world. In Japan, they even gave it a name: Karoshi.
It translates to “death by overwork”.
The Mental And Physical Health Spiral
Here’s what happens when you use your bedroom as a work area or office.
At first, you feel great. It’s a real treat not to have to commute to work every morning. In fact, you don’t even need to commute to another room in your home – your desk and computer are right there waiting for you.
You get up at the usual time you’d leave for work but now find you have more time in your day because you don’t have to commute.
You promise yourself that you’ll get more exercise, walk the dog earlier, and do all kinds of cool stuff with that extra time.
You find that you’re getting up later than usual now, typically only 30 minutes before your working day starts.
The fresh cup of morning goodness from the local coffee shop has now been replaced with a coffee from DoorDash, Ubereats, or whoever is willing to bring your coffee to you.
Trips to the grocery store have also become a thing of the past because why bother when you can have everything delivered, right?
The gym membership form sits on your desk glaring at you, pleading with you to sign it and start getting some exercise.
Your dog has to wait until 8 pm for their walk because you now seem to spend more time than ever at work – 9 pm to 7.30 pm is now the norm for you.
But, for some weird reason…your productivity is falling off a cliff no matter how many hours you work each day.
You now dread getting up each day because you’re exhausted no matter how much sleep you get.
The best you can manage now is grabbing a quick coffee in the kitchen before you slump at your desk, waiting for 10 or 11 am to roll around when you’re finally awake.
Showering is something you maybe do once a week, and you’re not sure when you last brushed your teeth.
Your room reeks of sweat because you’ve been wearing the same t-shirt now for several days. You’re also now 20 pounds heavier than you used to be.
In short, you feel awful and can’t remember the last time you sat and had a conversation with a human being.
You’re not motivated to do anything or go anywhere, for any reason.
You now hate your job with a fiery passion and your inner voice is telling you that you need to get professional help for both your physical and mental health.
For any perceived “Pros” of using your bedroom as a home office, I can absolutely promise you that there are far more Cons.
And these are the kind of downsides that can take you months or years to fully recover from.
How To Set Up A Home Office In Your Bedroom
Don’t do this unless you have absolutely no other choice in the world, for all the reasons stated in this post.
I’m not going to provide advice like “Use a room divider” or “Here’s how to make it all feel cozy” because none of those tips work.
They’re just fluff used to get you to click on articles and blog posts.
I used my bedroom as a home office for 7 years.
It’s a terrible idea.
Nobody should do it unless your new hobby is going to be collecting mental health issues, not being able to sleep properly again, and putting on extra weight.
Alternatives To An Office In Your Bedroom
Okay, so now it’s time to take a look your what other choices you have if you need a home office but don’t have space for one, and definitely don’t want to use your bedroom.
Rent from a friend
Do you have a friend or neighbor who would be willing to rent you a room, attic, or basement space in their home as your 9-5 office?
This would provide them with some additional income, you’re still close to your own home,
Obviously, check local zoning laws and any HOA nonsense rules that might apply here.
Although I don’t charge them for it, a family member uses my front room as their home office from time to time.
These have been around forever. A co-working space is an office space shared by multiple people and businesses.
You can rent a desk or a small office in a co-working space on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and come with free Wi-Fi and even free coffee in the better places.
Yes, a co-working space will cost money but what dollar amount would you put on your health?
Laws and Regulations Around Bedroom Home Offices
You’ve decided to completely ignore my advice and set up an office in your bedroom?
Here are some other things to take into consideration if you choose to do that.
The TLDR here is you might not be legally permitted to do this, even if you really want.
Zoning laws/local council laws dictate how certain types of buildings can be used. It’s pretty typical for these laws to state that you cannot set up a retail business in your sitting room, for example.
So it’s with checking local zoning laws allow you to have a home office in your bedroom?
Some might have restrictions on the type of business activities that can be carried out in a residential area.
Homeowner’s Association Rules
Some HOAs may have restrictions regarding home-based businesses, including having a home office in your bedroom.
And that means you might need to get HOA approval before you decide to work from home, especially if that involves starting your own business.
Your local or national tax office might have specific criteria for any deductions from your income taxes based on a bedroom being used as an office.
To qualify for the deduction, the area designated as your home office must be used exclusively and regularly for business purposes.
So, combining your bedroom and office space might make it challenging to satisfy the “exclusive use” criterion.