It was supposed to be the silver lining of the pandemic. Working from your bedroom with no dress code, no commuting, and unlimited access to the printer. But what happens when the day has no shape, and your bed and office become barely distinguishable?
Here are a few things you’ll only know if homeworking has completely ruined your sleep schedule…
1. Your office hours are up the creek
Nine to 5 never really meant 9 to 5, but it certainly doesn’t now. At home distraction and dysfunction can easily gain the upper hand, and working an impromptu night shift can happen without you even realising. An unproductive afternoon fades into irrelevance when your working day is up to 24 hours long.
2. Night and day look pretty much the same
Your four walls look the same at 4am as they do at 4pm, and during winter, what’s outside them does too. If your sleep schedule gets thrown there aren’t many cues to reset the balance – no chirpy chat by the water cooler, no sleepy late-evening sunset, no day-defining journeys to and from.
3. Days start really slowly
The working day waits for no one, and we genuinely miss the archaic practice of commuting. If anyone had asked you as you stood bleary-eyed on the 7.42 to Officetown if you’d rather work from your bedroom, you would surely have jumped at the chance. In retrospect, it was nice to start the working day awake.
4. The lunchtime nap is a fickle friend
Conventional wisdom holds that the perfect power nap lasts between 10 and 20 minutes. Office sleeps are still a bit weird (and risky when co-workers have marker pens), but at home, the lunch break nap is a perfect buffer against the fabled mid-afternoon slump. Beware: you’ll wake feeling invigorated, but with biorhythms akimbo, your body may decide that 11pm is party time.
5. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy
The less sleep you get, the less efficient you are during the day, and the more likely you are to need to work after hours. Once sleep schedules shift, they are difficult to unshift. Rinse and repeat.
6. The night can be super productive
It’s not all bad news, and as every night owl knows, the early hours can provide superb clarity of mind. No emails, no phone calls, and a relatively sedate Twitter account. This must be what life was like before technology.
7. Meal times drift too
Sleep does not exist in isolation, and when bedtimes go AWOL almost your entire lifestyle follows. 4pm lunchtimes, 10pm dinners, and a breakfast consisting mainly of coffee.
8. You thought it would be easier by now
You’ve done homeworking for months now – so surely you should have locked down a proper routine? Nope, you just get further and further into the burrow, your biological clock ever more confused.