5 Tips for Working from Home Alongside Your Partner
BY LAUREN CARTER
Many of us have transitioned from going into the office nearly every day to working from home full-time over the past year and a half. It was an easy transition for some but a difficult transition for others. Whether we live alone, with roommates, with family, or with a partner, we are all trying our best to “make it work.”
My husband is a certified public accountant and has no intentions of going back to the office anytime soon. After leaving my job as a wedding planner, I became a virtual assistant, which allows me to do my job from wherever. Since working from home alongside each other, we have learned a lot about living and working together, and we feel comfortable with this as our “new normal.” Here are five tips we have found to be helpful:
Have Your Own Workspaces
My husband and I are fortunate to have a two-bedroom apartment. For the first few years of living together, our second bedroom was used as a guest bedroom, as well as a place for my husband to play computer games. Once the pandemic happened, my husband worked out of our guest bedroom, and I worked at our kitchen table or on the couch. We were both always complaining about our workspaces and did not see ourselves returning to an office environment, so we decided to convert our guest bedroom into a home office for the both of us. We took away the bed and nightstands, and now, we each have our own desk, desk chair, and lamp. Having our own workspaces has been so nice and helped us be productive and focused.
Discuss Your Schedules
Once we make our way into our office and sit down at our desks, we typically take a minute to discuss our schedules. We start with our work schedule, going over our individual workloads and how late we plan on working. We let each other know if we have any scheduled calls. My husband usually has 1-3 scheduled calls, plus a few unscheduled calls each day, while I only have 1-2 scheduled calls per week. If the time of our calls overlap, I will move myself and my laptop to our kitchen table to take my call. It is harder for him to do this since he has a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and laptop. We end with our personal schedule, going over workout plans, errands, appointments, plans with friends and family, and more. Taking a minute to discuss our schedules is a great way for us to stay updated and feel connected before the workday begins.
Establish Routines and Support Each Other
When it comes to chores and responsibilities, my husband and I have established a solid routine. In the mornings, my husband makes breakfast and coffee for us while I make the bed and clean up after our cats. I usually take care of lunches and dinners while my husband cleans up the dishes and takes out the trash. We try to split up everything else equal; however, that is not always the case. One of the biggest reasons we discuss our schedules is to see where and how we can support each other. If one of us has a hectic schedule, the other will pick up extra chores and responsibilities. There is no keeping score because we are working towards the same goal. If we both have busy schedules, we understand it is temporary and will let some tasks slide (for example, ordering takeout versus cooking dinner). This gives us time to present in our relationship and our individual lives.
Plan Quality Time Together
Living and working together has its ups and downs. My husband used to travel a lot, and I used to work weddings almost every weekend, so we rarely saw each other. Having dinner together was a rare treat! Now, we see each other daily and love it, but it is easy to fall into the sleep, work, eat, sleep routine, so we work twice as hard to put our relationship first. One of the ways we do this is by planning a date night outside of the house at least once a week. This gives us a chance to get dressed up and spend quality time together. We do our best not to talk about work or if we do, we give each other a small window of time to talk about it, then move on to other topics. We usually check in on how we’re doing, both personally and in our relationship, then we love to discuss goals we’re working towards and future travel plans. Between date nights, we also plan and look forward to our dinners together at home and winding down with a TV show we are both enjoying.
Buy Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Of all products to suggest, noise-canceling headphones are at the top of my list! My husband and I recently invested in Apple AirPods Pros, and they have made all the difference. We use them to listen to music, hop on work calls or just drown out the everyday sounds of living in an apartment. We also love working out with them because of the transparency mode, where you can listen to music, but still hear the surrounding sounds around us. I highly recommend adding noise-canceling headphones to your wishlist if you do not already have some.
As I said, living and working together has its ups and downs, but we have found following these tips while working alongside each other to be very helpful.