If you feel like you are losing your mind working at home with your spouse, you are not alone. Many of us at SquareRooms have had to adapt to working in a shared space with a partner and even children.
This kind of constant proximity during stressful working hours can take a toll on any relationship. With nowhere to escape to when you need some space, it’s more important than ever to communicate and figure out some ground rules. To help you survive the circuit breaker period, here are our personal tips for working from home with your spouse during COVID-19.
- Designate separate work spaces
The easiest way to work with your spouse is to not do it. If you are lucky enough to share your home with only your spouse, separate your working areas as soon as possible, and stick to your separate environments during working hours. This will ensure that you don’t associate your partner’s presence with work stress. Seeing them during breaks and after work will instead be a welcome relief.If you share your home with more than one person and don’t have enough space for individual work areas, try to share your space with someone who has similar requirements. If you can only concentrate in complete silence, don’t work next to someone who is always on calls!
- Control the noise
One of the first things we recommend getting over and done with is to set some ground rules for noise levels at home. This is especially important for phone calls and meetings, as those can be very noisy and interfere with other people’s quiet work. Using headphones and moving to a separate space while on calls should be the foundation of these rules. Ideally, set aside a meeting room that is fairly sound-proof in order to avoid disturbing each other.
- Take breaks together
While staying as far apart from each other during working hours is ideal, the opposite should be the case during breaks and after work. Arrange a time to have lunch and dinner every day and make sure to talk about things outside of work. Maintaining a semblance of a normal life is crucial for your mental health during these difficult times. You cannot meet up with friends or colleagues to have a chat so it’s important that you socialise with your spouse to avoid getting too lonely.
- Don’t blame each other
To avoid constantly getting angry at your spouse, it’s important to find an outlet for your frustrations. This can be a friend you call to vent, your Instagram story or even an imaginary co-worker! In a recent Tweet, Molly Tolsky shared that since working from home, her imaginary co-worker “Cheryl” never washes her dishes. While recurring problems should be addressed, it’s okay to let some issues slide and not blame each other for every mistake.
- Keep things light-hearted
The COVID-19 pandemic is a serious issue and we are not suggesting that you take it lightly. However, it’s important for your own sake to distract yourself and focus on the good things. If your partner is annoying you and working from home is stressing you out, take a step back and consider the good things around you. Remember that working from home is not the end of the world and try to make fun of any issues that come up instead of fighting over them! Your relationship will be better for it in the long run.