Welcome to your new normal!! You live, work, eat, and work out at home, and there's no end in sight! The bonus? Your spouse it there too…. all the time.
Something we have a ton of experience in is working side by side with our spouse, especially during complicated, stressful times. My husband and I have both started remote businesses while traveling abroad and have seen each other through some of our least attractive days.
Here's how we went about managing and maintaining our relationship while living and working together 24 hours a day:
You need a space and your spouse needs a space. Simple as that. You need to feel as if you are at work and can still be productive and are not being interrupted. Interruptions make people feel like they are not respected and when spouses feel a lack of respect from each other, well as Aretha Franklin so eloquently put it: "Ooh, your kisses/ Sweeter than honey/ And guess what?/ So is my money".
Consider converting your dining room table to the new office and you each sit at opposite ends. In my experience, it's best not to work side by side on your couch or bed. That's the least productive situation possible.
If you're lucky enough to have an outside living space try and utilize it as much a possible- maybe use the outdoor space as a place to take calls, so you're not interrupting the other person.
Create A Schedule.
You need to stick to a schedule. Just because you are both at home does not mean you are both free to hang out, chat, chill, etc. If you both want to eat lunch together, decide on time instead of waiting until you are hungry, can't go out to pick up food, or the delivery person is late, etc. This way you can easily set boundaries for each other as well as giving yourself a structure to go off of which will help make you feel productive and accomplished. Things are crazy right now, and the structure will feel good.
Do Not Disturb.
Utilize your task time and be sure to communicate you will be entering that high focus task time and turning on DND -if you have a time frame of 1 hour or 5 hours even better. The important thing is to communicate with your partner that you won't be accessible during this time. The last thing you want is for your spouse to glare at you from across the dining room table, knowing their texts are hitting your phone, but you are not reacting. Ignore with a sense of love!
It's crucial to identify what you both need to accomplish so the house can operate in a new way. The worst thing is when one person feels like they are doing more of the work, and the other one is slacking off. Share these household roles (the cooking, the cleaning) or at least talk them through, so no one feels like the other one is not contributing or feels it's unfair. Now is not the time for unnecessary and petty tension- we need to be working together.
Most couples are used to working outside the home for 8-10 hours and seeing their S.O. for a few hours at night or in the morning. Suddenly you have flipped that. Understand that this is bound to be a difficult adjustment and make sure to carve time out for you to decompress after work or be alone in your head like you would on an average day during your commute. A lack of alone time will get at you faster than you can imagine, and it's okay to ask for some time on your own, it's not selfish; it's self-care.
Hopefully, these will be helpful suggestions- although we are not marriage counselors we know a fair amount about suddenly being forced to work alongside with your spouse while also maintaining a healthy home life. It’s not easy, and it’s not for everyone- but for right now, it’s reality.
Let us know if you have any tips for surviving working from home with your spouse!
Wishing you a happy, peaceful and productive week!