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Sharing your home office with your partner

Sharing your home office with your partner is becoming more popular these days because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many people have switched to working from home. That might mean you have to share your home space with your partner for more than your personal life. 

How to create a sharable home office space

Sharing your home office with your partner depends on the way you’re used to working, alone or socially. Depending on each scenario, you have different solutions:

1. You feel better working alone. This means you get easily distracted when there is someone else in the room you’re working in. 

2. You don’t mind or get distracted by someone else in your proximity while working. 

3. There is also a third option: when one of you is more comfortable working alone while the other prefers to be in the company of others while working.  

Working from home alone 

If you feel more comfortable working alone, you will have to choose the best location for your home office. Even in this situation, you need to have a non-negotiable working schedule that your partner respects.

This goes both ways, your partner should also put his work schedule on the table. This is how you avoid missunderstandings because you can always reffer back to your written down schedule. And if something unpredictable happens, you can see which one of you can handle it. If possible, take turns solving unexpected problems so that you both keep your commitments to both your work and your partner. 

Working from home near your partner

A shared work from home space might mean working alongside your partner from the same desk or same room. Each of you might have certain habits and rituals so it’s important to know these things before you share a home office space. This is also a great opportunity to see your partner’s business side and get to know each other better in the process. 

Rules for sharing your home office with your partner

Whether you work in a private space or right next to your partner, you both must know your essential needs and agree on some non-negotiable rules during home office hours. This will ensure you both get your work done. But how do you do that?

1. Put pen to paper

Before you share your home office space with your partner, each of you should write down a list of your own requirements for an effective home office schedule. Decide what you need in order to feel productive, what your schedule will look like, when you will be taking breaks and even if you want to listen to music or the radio while working. Also write down what items you need on and around your desk in order to get your work done. 

2. Have an honest conversation

After writing down your requirements, have an honest conversation in which you see how both of your lists compare. Work through each point on the list and see how you and your partner can most effectively work together.

3. Compromise if necessary

This is where you do what couples do best: compromise. Find the points you have in common when it comes to both working schedules. Negociate your way to a productive work from home scenario. 

4. Set up your own work from home rules

After negotiating and compromising, you have to set your own work from home rules. This will diminish the probabilities of friction down the line and make you both aware of each others needs and wishes. 

Please take note that if you ignore setting up rules, working from home with your partner can cause friction in your relationship outside of working hours. So make sure you avoid getting these two sides of your story together mixed up. 

5. Pivot and adapt

Once in a while, find time to ask each other if your work from home setup still works for each of you. Flexibility is key, because there are times when things change and you need to be able to recompose your working schedule. Make sure your partner is aware of changes in your schedule and work with them to adapt your compromise. 

Do you have other ways in which you and your partner work together succesfully? If so, we’d all love to know and maybe get inspired by your creativity. So please share your ideas in the comments. 

Here are a few more ideas to get you started:

10 Double Workspace Designs: Sharing Your WFH Setup

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