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Work From Home Tips for Successfully Coworking With Your Partner
by Ayana Iman
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May 29, 2020

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Work From Home Tips for Successfully Coworking With Your Partner

Couple working at table (Photo courtesy of Pexels.com)
Couple working at table (Photo courtesy of Pexels.com)

Working from home is no longer a luxury; for some, it is a requirement. And if you live with your partner (and children) things can get even more complicated. While the pandemic closed most offices so we could shelter in place, there was little preparation for us to adjust to this “new normal.” Some companies, like Twitter, have already gone on record to announce their employees can continue working from home permanently. Now, more than ever, a workflow plan is needed to establish productive working habits. 

So here are 21 things to consider when working from home with your partner. 

    1. Create a Morning Routine

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Effective communication is key to establishing you and your partner’s needs and then working together to develop a daily routine that is fulfilling for both parties.

    1. Work in Intervals

Whether you’re using the Pomodoro Method, which is a “time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.” Or using another form of scheduling, working in intervals can help increase productivity and deepen your focus. Breaks keep us from getting bored, allows us to retain information better, and reevaluate both our short and long-term goals. 

    1. Plan Lunch Dates

There’s no need to wait for date night when lunch is an option. Establish lunch dates because it helps both of you take a quick mental break from your daily agendas. 

    1. Create a “Do Not Disturb” Rule

Desk (Photo courtesy of CreateHerStock.com)
Desk (Photo courtesy of CreateHerStock.com)

There’s a time to work and a time to play, and some days may require more attention than others. It’s important to acknowledge this quiet time and establish some ground rules. I suggest using earphones to cancel out the background noise. While also keeping in mind, this is not the time to ask your partner about household tasks or share the latest news reports.

    1. Plan Workouts Together

Health is wealth. With the gyms closed, it forces us to get creative with our at home workouts. According to Psychology Today, working out with your partner — running at the same pace, lifting weights in rhythm, or tossing a medicine ball back and forth — creates “nonverbal matching.” Nonverbal matching helps people feel “emotionally attuned with one another.” Those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of bonding with their partner.

    1. Take a Mental Break and Get Some Fresh Air

Outdoor exercise is still an option during the coronavirus pandemic. Schedule your lunch breaks together, so you can take advantage of some vitamin D but make sure to adhere to safety precautions!

    1. Make Each Other Breakfast

Making each other breakfast is a sign of gratitude and it doesn’t have to be a full spread to be thoughtful. It shows great care and consideration for your partner in helping them start their day off right with some extra tender, loving care (TLC). 

    1. Practice Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy (Photo courtesy of CreateHerStock.com)

The soft surfaces in your home, such as rugs and drapes, can hold odor. These smells can go unnoticed when you’ve been home for a while. But aromatherapy can change all of that by using essential oils with signature scents to promote relaxation. Apart from providing a pleasant smell, aromatherapy oils can provide respiratory disinfection, decongestant, and psychological benefits. 

    1. Define What “Work From Home” Outfits Should Be (Or Keep It Undefined)

In the office, you have a dress code; the same rules apply at home. Does it turn you off to see your partner in sweats every day? If so, it’s better to tell the truth than to hold a grudge. These rules aren’t firm, but defining the work from home culture can help you better manage expectations. 

    1. Pick Mood Music (If Any)

Setting the tone for your workday is important. Some listen to music, while others don’t. One suggestion is creating a shared playlist of preferred songs or listening to some low-fidelity (LO-FI) tunes. Whatever your choice of music, be mindful of the noise level. 

    1. Schedule Time to Talk About Non-Work Topics

There’s nothing like partaking in a stimulating conversation just for the fun of it! Talking about work can become dull and very surface level. There’s enough heaviness in the world, so use this time for laughter, shared memories, and joyful moments. 

    1. Share Your Calendar to Avoid Zoom-bombing

I’m sure you’ve seen some of the viral videos featuring pantless employees or other household members doing questionable things in the background of a Zoom call. This is an avoidable offense that can be solved by acknowledging where the camera is angled. If your partner knows when you have an all-hands work meeting, they’ll be less inclined to mess it up. So, please make sure everyone is on the same page with upcoming on-camera meetings. 

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    1. Avoid the Bedroom During Work Hours

The bedroom is for sleeping and relaxing, so if you’re not doing either, stay away. Working from your bed seems great, but if you don’t have the willpower, it can be a set-up for failure. 

    1. …But Do Schedule Naps

While I don’t recommend working from the bedroom, I do encourage naps. Power naps can improve productivity. Did you know that 20-minute naps are good for alertness and motor learning skills, such as typing and playing the piano? 30 to 60 minute naps are great for decision-making skills, like memorizing vocabulary or recalling directions. 

    1. Commit to an Organized Workspace

Woman working at desk (Photo courtesy of CreateHerStock.com)
Woman working at desk (Photo courtesy of CreateHerStock.com)

If you want to minimize stress, then it’s time to declutter. A crowded work area can cloud your judgment, create mental chaos, and cause disorganization. Once a week, try arranging your workspace making it both efficient and effective to help you navigate your day-to-day. 

    1. If You Have Kids, Share the Homeschooling Responsibilities

Check on your friends with kids because I assure you, they are not okay! On top of deadlines and Zoom calls, they also have to manage their kids’ school day. Each parent (or guardian) should share the homeschooling responsibilities. Speak to your line manager about adjusting your schedule to accommodate your child’s e-learning experience. Work in shifts, so each of you has the desired time actually to work or take a break. 

    1. Set Personal Boundaries

Personal space should not be underrated in a relationship because time alone gives each person the ability to process their thoughts without influence. It’s less about alienating your spouse, and more about mental protection, reducing stress, and increasing focus to help you better align with yourself and your partner. 

    1. Meal Prep to Make Life Simpler

If you want to avoid frustration caused by hunger, then meal-prepping is vital. Having your food prepared frees up your time in your schedule to focus on other tasks. Also, you’re less inclined to overeat if you have food already prepared. 

    1. Don’t Treat your Partner Like an Assistant

I tried this, and it does not work. Don’t be like me. The easiest way to lose your partner’s respect is treating them like second-class citizens. It’s okay to ask for help, but remember to thank them and not take advantage of it. 

    1. Check-In on Each Other

Couple at home (Photo credit @carmen.bridgewater/Instagram)
Couple at home (Photo credit @carmen.bridgewater/Instagram)

With no separation from work and home, it’s easy for everything to become a blur. Do you and your partner a favor by asking them if they’re okay, and being truthful in sharing if you’re not. This openness in communication promotes love and unity, allowing both of you to feel safe and secure in each other’s company. 

    1. Be Flexible

Life is short. Don’t ruin your day or week if things don’t pan out as expected. Allow you and your partner a little grace. These are unprecedented times, so you’re allowed to pivot as needed.

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