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Coping with a shared home-workspace

When you agreed to share a home with your partner, you were probably thinking of lazy Sunday mornings in bed and cosy evenings on the sofa – not being cooped up together for weeks while trying to hold down your full time jobs. Kay Hill has some tips to make the situation bearable.

Whether you’re used to working from home in silence or the buzz of a packed office, suddenly finding yourself working alongside your nearest and dearest 24/7 is an almighty shock. Once the honeymoon week of shared lunchbreaks is over, it can get stressful very fast. But there are ways to ensure you are still talking to each other at the end of the day.

Most importantly, however small your living area, try to carve out a separate space for each of you to work. In a family home with a study, spare bedroom or a dining room this isn’t too difficult, but in a smaller space it may just have to be opposite ends of the apartment. If one of you has loads of hardware from work (desktop computers, printers and so on) then it makes sense for that partner to pick a spot and stay there. If you’re both on laptops, then play fair and swap who has to work on the sofa – especially if there are kids around!


Distance is necessary

Once you’ve established who works where, then kiss goodbye and stay apart at least until lunchtime. You could work out a coffee/tea rota, but just put the cup on the desk and go – don’t linger and distract each other. Ideally, be far enough apart that you can’t overhear each other’s phone calls. Everyone has a different work persona to who they are at home, and you may prefer not to know that side of each other!

Have a proper lunch break, however busy you are – your eyes and spine need a break, especially if you are working in a sub-optimal environment. Having a time to share a meal, have a chat or go for your daily exercise together will help you concentrate in the afternoon and relieve the loneliness of whole days working from home.


Spend a little, avoid an argument

If you’re fighting over broadband access consider getting an unlimited data sim and hot-spotting from an old mobile phone (or buying a mi-fi/4G box) so you have a connection each. The extra £20 or so a month could save some serious arguments.

And get showered and dressed every day. Yes, really.

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