When Your Office is a Bed:
Making the Best of Your Van Office
Living and traveling in a van sounds like a dream, right? Well, if you have a remote job or own a business that allows you to manage operations from anywhere, it just might be your reality.
With all the ways to stay connected – your cellular/mobile phone network, mobile hotspots, Starlink – it’s time to stop dreaming about the future and get on the road.
When making your workspace completely mobile, remember that everything is compact in a vehicle. Many areas will serve double duty. Your kitchen will probably be your living area, and your bedroom may likely be your mobile office!
How do you manage work/life balance when you live in a small space, and your bed is your office? Can you work efficiently and stay motivated in your van’s mobile office? Can you make your workspace ergonomically friendly in a van office?
In this article, we’ll share tips on making the most of your mobile office while maintaining a healthy routine and keeping your time balanced.
Fixed-Bed Van Office Options
In a fixed-bed van layout, there is no way to move the bed; it is always in place. This design is common in many vans, especially for folks who want the under-bed storage space for bikes or other large outdoor equipment.
Tips for Working from a Fixed-Bed Van Office
Working from a fixed bed means that you’ll be using your sleeping area as a mobile office. Here are a few tips to create boundaries and avoid falling asleep on the job:
- Make your bed every day after waking up and before starting work. As annoying as the cliché, “Messy bed, messy head” can be, it’s true!
- Create a mobile office van routine. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, just something that signifies this is work time and not leisure or rest time.
- Avoid working from bed right when you wake up. Lying in bed with a computer can lead to working from bed at all hours of the day, even when you should be asleep! Wait until you have your mobile office set up to start working.
Tools for Your Fixed-Bed Van Office
As you can imagine, without a traditional desk and chair setup, you’ll need to find ways to make working in bed more ergonomically friendly. A supportive mattress is a great start!
Check out these additional tools to maximize your mobile office comfort and functionality. You might even forget you’re working from a van!
- A firm pillow chair or backrest can support your posture and add style to the van. Plus, it can be useful to create seating when you have guests over.
- A folding desk or collapsible tray table creates an instant workspace in your bed. Some have small drawers to store writing materials or your laptop mouse.
- An adjustable computer stand/laptop riser will keep your work at eye level and reduce strain on your neck. They are affordable, easy to store, and a more cost-effective alternative to a standing desk.
- A wall monitor focuses your eyes at a better distance and keeps your neck from pointing down while working from your van bed.
- A secondary keyboard will create a better angle for your elbows if your screen is on risers or the wall.
Bed-to-Dinette Conversion Van Offices
Some vans have a convertible bed option where the bed can be turned into a seating area with benches and a table. These types of layouts are called bed-to-dinette conversions.
The tabletop and/or sliding wood slats are used to fill the gap between the seats and create a secure frame for the bed. The mattress is created by putting multiple seat cushions together to form a bed.
Another bed-to-dinette option is a murphy bed. In this type of van build, the entire bed folds up into the wall exposing a seating area below it. This takes up a significant amount of width, but is easier than making and unmaking the bed daily.
Features of Convertible Bed-to-Dinette Vans
Convertible beds allow for storage in the seats or benches and the ability to host company with more seating options than fixed-bed layouts.
Additionally, you can expand your mobile office solutions. You can either keep the bed converted and utilize some of the fixed-bed tools mentioned earlier, or you can switch the bed into the table with a seating area for work.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll want to be sure you have solid, supportive, and comfortable mattress pieces/cushions.
Tips for Converting from Bed to Mobile Office
Creating a routine will help streamline the process when converting the bed to an office.
- Decide if you will set up the dinette area every day or if this will be a task on Monday through Friday (or whichever days you work).
- Convert the bed as soon as you are out of it. Make it part of your van life routine.
- Have a dedicated bag/storage space for bedding (such as storage cabinets in the bench seats or the bulkhead above the cab).
When You Need a Real Office
While a mobile office is quite functional, you might sometimes need to work outside your vehicle. Try one of these when you need a break from the van:
- Public libraries are available in most cities or towns and have wireless internet and computer workstations available free of charge.
- Coworking spaces offer day passes for services like shared tables, meeting rooms, and private desk rentals. Most include internet and refreshments, though some offer even more perks.
- Coffee shops and cafes usually have a decent wireless network and allow patrons to work for a few hours in exchange for your business.
- Breweries, restaurants, and other local businesses tend to have internet available for paying customers. Work through lunch at a brewery and treat yourself to a beverage or dessert after work!
- Private hotel rooms or AirBnBs are the most expensive options for working outside your van. However, you are guaranteed space to yourself! Ask to use the hotel business center rather than paying for an entire night’s stay.
Comfort is Key for Your Van Office
At RoamRest, we understand that rest and recuperation are key to a successful workday. When your bed is also your office, comfort while sleeping must coexist with comfort while working.
RoamRest offers a variety of mattress styles to accommodate your needs, both in bed mode and office mode. From a simple upgrade for your stock Storyteller mattress to a fully custom compilation of foam and fabric, we have the solution for a restful night’s sleep and a productive workday.
Our custom mattresses or dinette cushions can be flippable, designed with one firm side for sitting and one soft side for sleeping. We can also incorporate different fabric on the “seating” side that is more durable and easier to clean.
Working From Bed is the Ultimate Dream
Traveling in a van and working in bed sounds dreamy (pun intended), and it can be, with the right tools and a bit of planning. Remember, support and comfort are key to productivity and success in your mobile office.
You can literally live your dreams by working comfortably in your van while traveling as you please. And RoamRest can help those dreams come true!
If you’d like to learn more about RoamRest’s custom mattress options, you can learn more here, and reach out to our sales team with any questions.