Frankly speaking, we are in uncharted territory here. Never have so many working-class couples had to spend this much time together, and we’re just not used to it. The way it worked before the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone to “stay at home” was simple: on workdays, you typically only saw each other at night, and over the weekend, you got to spend more time together, and oftentimes in the company of other people.
Now it’s just the two of you, everyday, with nowhere to hide. And we all know that even the most considerate partner would eventually get in your hair, given enough time and opportunity to do so. This is why you need a working couples’ survival guide, specifically tailored to the present situation, and you need it now. So what follows are a few tips I’ve picked up these past few days of self-isolating with my significant other.
1. Designate your individual work spaces
If you have the space to work at home, and lots of it, that’s great; you can share a large dining table, or one can take the dining table while the other uses the spare room dressing table. However, for many of those suddenly working from home, it’ll be about sharing either the sofa or kitchen workbench, or finding your own corner of the house to work from. The important thing here is to establish your individual work areas and to respect those boundaries during work hours once they have been drawn.
2. Be considerate
If you’re struggling to concentrate on work and answering calls or emails because your partner is watching something loud on their laptop, ask them to put headphones in. It’s important to communicate your needs. If you must concentrate on urgent work, make sure your partner knows this so they can give you space without interrupting you. Respecting each other’s boundaries is going to help reduce arguments and help keep you both happy and productive.
3. Anticipate biscuit wars
Along with those tea breaks come snacks. And it’s often the case that your other half might snaffle the last snack that you had your eye on. So this is yet another area where you need to be considerate of each other’s needs. Always make sure there is enough food and snacks for the two of you, and if you happen upon the last piece of biscuit in the pan, consider leaving it for your significant other.
4. Avoid going out
In as much as staying at home and social distancing is best during this period, you might find yourself needing to brave the great outdoors for a grocery run. To avoid putting yourself and your partner at risk, you might want to explore the online shopping options for your groceries and all the other essentials you will need to keep yourselves productive.
5. Talk to one another
This last tip is especially important. You might get so caught up in the work that you are doing, that you forget to acknowledge the person you’ve been sharing a space with. So make sure to set some time out to catch up with one another, either during your breaks or sometime after you’re both done with all your work for that day. This would help diffuse any building tensions and work-related stresses.
And that is all the tips I have for you today. Hopefully this is enough to help you avoid any potential friction and to remain as productive as you can while you work together. How have you and your partner been coping with having to work from home? Let us know in the comments section below.