I live in a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, our cat Panda, and rapidly growing puppy Maple. We both work remotely and currently don’t have a dedicated office space or additional desk. Which means we’ve gotten pretty used to working from home in tight quarters.
With so many people finding themselves in our position, I thought I’d share a few tips on how we stay sane (and in love) working from home together.
Keep One Another in The Loop- We ask each other pretty regularly what the others day is going to look like. Who has a lot of meetings? Who has a little bit more free time? Does one of us need to work late today? Little check-ins to keep one another in the loop keep things running smoothly.
You Can(and Should) Have Solo Down Time- When I’m done with work for the day, I’ll typically hop into my bed and watch YouTube videos or scroll through social media. Could I have a better habit, maybe, but that’s just how I like to unwind. Usually while I’m doing that, my boyfriend will hop on his Xbox and play a few games with friends. I’ve come to view this as my mental commute, when I was working a 9-5 I had a 30 minute drive to get home from work and in that time I had a chance to mentally unwind and transition from work to home.
Put Away The Laptop- Find a space for your work supplies to go at the end of the work day. When we first started working from home together we’d just leave out laptops out all of the time and it made it so tempting to just pop it back open for “one last thing”. Whether it’s in a backpack or on your shelf, putting your computer away at the end of the day is an easy way to avoid 24/7 work temptations.
Establish Workspaces- During the day our kitchen becomes our office and the bedroom is transformed into a conference center. Having defined spaces helps to both break up the work day and clue in the other person as to what the other is up to.
Set Boundaries- Make sure you and your partner are both getting what you need. Have open lines of communication about your what your work style is and what you need to be effective in your job.
Neutralize “Give Me One Second”- The biggest issue we had transitioning to daily coworkers was navigating how to talk to each other throughout the day. When we’re not working there’s no problem showing each other the funny thing we saw on our phones, but the rules are a little different when you’re both working. We both felt a little ignored by the other when we were met with silence when we were talking to each other. If the other starts talking while the other is busy we’ll throw out a “Give Me a Second” or “I want to hear about it once I finish ____” and then give them our undivided attention when the timing is right. We know the other person isn’t being rude or dismissive they just need to finish what they’re doing before they can give the other their full attention. This is probably the thing that’s been most helpful for us.
Of course there are still times when things don’t run smoothly! But having an open line of communication and working together to figure it out has been so helpful for both of us.