Sharing a Home Office With Your Significant Other

Sharing a Home Office With Your Significant Other

The key to working with your spouse or partner at home may not be that different from working together in a marriage. Click through to discover ways to enjoy the flexibility but depressurize the work stress at home.

Personal and professional pressures sometimes get intermixed these days as whole families try to work at home — together. Here’s where being dependable can go a long way to fostering success for working at home.


Here are some tips to get through the coming weeks:

  • Communication and listening are more essential than ever before.
  • Don’t talk about work 24/7 — have a rule that all work talk stops before 8 p.m.
  • Don’t bring personal issues into work. Have those discussions during off-hours.
  • Have separate workspaces so that you’re not literally with each other 24/7. Working from home demands some time to go to your corner — alone.
  • Make time for your relationship, by doing things like watching a movie together.
  • With market fluctuations and job uncertainties, make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to all financial decisions and business goals.

Of course, a lot of this is easier said than done. The trick is to get specific about ways to take care of your own mental health while working in what might be less-than-ideal circumstances. Below are some ideas.

First of all, structure your day. It doesn’t have to be absolute, but you will find a comfort that comes from a regular schedule in these uncertain times:

  • You should have a structure so that you know when a certain time unit begins and ends, even if it’s a completely artificial thing like doing some reading between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. today and then going for a bike ride or watching TV or playing with the cat.
  • You want to structure time together and time alone — switching it up in a way that mimics a commute, like going somewhere or moving spaces.
  • You can still go out for a walk, as much as local regulations allow.
  • You should keep a limit on how much time you’re spending on social media or following the news, and decide in advance how much you want to consume.
  • You want to structure how much time to spend with other people on the phone, online or visually with FaceTime, Zoom or Skype.

Still, it is almost inevitable that some conflict will arise with your partner. How do you resolve this?

  • Try to notice when you’re projecting your own issues onto the other person or dragging him or her into something that’s really your issue.
  • Think about where the other person is coming from and what his or her needs are.
  • Focus on active listening so you can understand each other. This sets the stage for good communication.

We know how to problem solve. We get bogged down by feelings, by ego or by all sorts of things around the issue itself. We can figure out a way to do things:

  • You start. I’ll go later.
  • Let’s go to separate rooms.
  • Let’s divide the day.
  • Let’s call in someone else to do this part of the work. There are solutions: We’re stuck in this particular problem, but we’ll get through it.

If you remain focused, you can be both a better, more productive worker and a better partner.

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