Work is stressful enough. Throw in a romantic relationship, and things get even more complicated.
I know what you’re thinking. Who in their right mind would do that? Well, like it or not, having to work alongside your partner is also part of the #NewNormal.
Aside from the increasing number of remote workers, there’s also a rising number of cohabiting couples. Hence, many of us are now working alongside our partners for the first time. And yes, it’s awkward.
Sure, you know your partner personally, but his/her professional persona can be pretty different. Is s/he bossy? Or do they stay quiet during meetings? Perhaps s/he is actually good at handling employees?
If you’re both lucky enough to have your own separate workspaces, these things won’t matter as much. But if you somehow have to work side by side for the time being, well, here are 12 tips to help you survive -and even enjoy- the ride.
Agree on when you’ll wake up.
It all starts with deciding when your (individual) day starts. Will be you getting up at the same time? Or do you sleep in while your partner gets up earlier to work out or enjoy some “me time”?
If you and your partner or spouse share a bed along with a remote working schedule, don’t forget to factor in your respective wake up times. You might as well get things started properly.
Decide on your WFH routine.
Speaking of, sit down with your partner and discuss each other’s WFH routines – and how you can help out.
Would you like them to make you coffee while you shower? Do they need you to wake them up for an early video call? Verbalise your needs and compromise to accommodate each other’s routines the best way you can.
Remember -and respect- when you both need to “be at work.”
If you own or manage a business, you might have flexible working hours. However, if your partner is employed in a company, s/he probably needs to report during specific hours. Or vice versa
Hence, both of you should update each other about your schedules, particularly when you have important client or business meetings coming up and can’t be disturbed.
Try not to bicker over suitable WFH outfits.
Do you still dress up even if you’re working from home? Maybe your partner prefers to work in pajamas?
Remote working offers a lot of flexibility, but this also means that you and your partner might have different ideas of what “appropriate” WFH attire is. But as long as no one is walking into your video call dressed inappropriately, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Respect each other’s preferences for background music (or the lack thereof).
Some people like to work in silence. Others love to blast loud music.
If you and your partner both like working with background music, that’s great. However, it might be better to use headphones when sharing a workspace. This way, your playlist won’t disturb your partner – or that virtual meeting they’re having.
Take breaks together.
Since you’re already working alongside your partner, why not take breaks together? You can eat lunch, go for a walk, or just talk about other things. Spending quality time with each other without distractions can help your relationship -and your sanity.
Review each other’s schedules for the next day.
Do you have an important business call coming up? Does your partner need to be on-camera for a video conference?
If so, always discuss how much space (or support) you need. Talk about your obligations and what your partner can do to help. Even if it’s just keeping quiet or steering clear of your space the whole time.
Use a shared calendar.
If you and your partner have difficulties remembering each other’s meetings, use a shared calendar.
This should combine your daily remote work schedules and issue notifications as needed. That way, you’ll know when to steer clear whenever one of you needs the home office to themselves.
Be mindful of noise.
Nobody likes hearing clattering dishes or the vacuum running during an ongoing call. So, before you carry out such chores, make sure your partner isn’t at a meeting first.
Conversely, if you’re easily distracted by noise, let your partner know. They can always just do those chores later, or find ways to do them without making too much of a ruckus.
Get noise-cancelling headphones.
If you really can’t tune out the noise, invest in noise-cancelling headphones.
They’ll help you get work done no matter what’s going on around you. Plus, these headphones will prevent you from starting a row with your partner when they’re talking too loudly at a meeting or blasting their work playlist. Win-win.
Claim your respective workspaces.
Are you comfortable working on a sofa? Or do you prefer sitting at a wide desk that can accommodate all your stuff? How about your partner’s preferences?
Even if you share a limited space, it’s better to have designated working spaces for each partner. You’ll avoid many conflicts that way, trust me.
Make date night plans.
Don’t neglect date nights just because you’re already living and working together!
Remember, you are a couple first and foremost. You still need to exert effort in making each other feel special. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture either. For example, cooking a special dinner or even watching a romantic movie is enough, so long as you do it together.
At the end of the day, communication is key. As long as you’re clear with your boundaries and you’re willing to compromise, working from home is one of the best experiences you can share as a couple.
Remote Staff has been assisting Australian SMEs and entrepreneurs like you find skilled remote workers from the Philippines since 2007. Aside from hiring, we also take part in the onboarding process so you can relax and spend more time with your partner while you’re managing your business from home.