Do you and your spouse both work from home? Here are tips on how to survive as a couple working from home. It’s easier than you think!
More and more people are working from home. In recent U.S. Census reports, the percentage of people working from home has steadily increased since 2000. So it comes as no surprise that, if you have a significant other, you may have to learn how to work with them at home.
A year after we moved to Florida, Brian took on a new job that had him away from home five days a week. We only saw each other on the weekends. This went on for three (3) years. It was rough. But now, thankfully, he works from home.
To say it’s been an adjustment is an understatement. We had to learn how to work under one roof, without annoying the other, and keep life interesting. I’m an early riser, and he’s a night owl. I like to keep my space tidy, whereas he works best in “ordered” chaos.
Here are some things we’ve learned over the past year that has helped us as a couple that both work from home.
Tips for When You Both Work from Home
1. Respect the Work Day
This seems like a no-brainer, but you must establish a routine. Maybe for one person that’s working from 10am til 6pm. Maybe the other is an early bird and starts work at 7am. As long as both parties know what to expect, it will be easier to work from home and respect each other’s schedules.
2. Designate Work Spaces
Discipline is key here. Designate a work space where each of you can work peacefully, and make it separate from living space. If you have the space, designate different rooms for each other. We work best when we can’t see the other, so having separate offices is glorious.
3. Don’t Work in Living Spaces
Don’t work from bed! This continues from my last point, but, ever since I stopped bringing my laptop with me to the couch, I am able to get more work done in the office while also paying attention to my Netflix queue in the evenings. Hold yourself accountable and get work done with the least amount of distractions.
4. Communicate Distractions Ahead of Time
Another important thing I’ve learned is letting Brian know when I’m expecting packages. Why? Chip and Daisy bark excessively to protect the house from delivery people. If I’m expecting PR packages or purchase deliveries, I let him know the night before (or the morning of) so he can prepare his day accordingly.
5. Establish Communication Methods During the Day
As someone who has worked from home for years, sometimes it’s really hard to separate life and work. It’s far too easy to pop your head into their spouse’s home office and ask a mundane question (like plans for dinner) which may interrupt their workflow.
We’ve learned that a simple iMessage (that we can read/respond to from our MacBooks) works best. That way, we’re not interrupting each other during important work and we can respond when we have a moment.
6. Develop a Morning Routine
I’m a firm believer in starting your morning off right. This will mean different things for every couple. Each individual has their own love language for giving/ receiving love and affection. For me, it’s quality time. For my husband, it’s acts of service. For me, this can mean 5-10 minutes where we sit with each other over coffee and breakfast. For him, it’s me making him coffee or breakfast. It really can be that simple, and it can set the stage for a productive work day.
7. Headphones are Your Friend
Brian and I are in different industries. He’s in corporate sales, whereas I’m a creative entrepreneur and work in web design, blogging, and as a clean beauty educator. While they may look different, we both have times where our jobs are noisy.
I frequently listen to inspirational podcasts or informative webinars. Brian, on the other hand, has frequent conference calls and the garble of several voices on speakerphone is enough to drive me up a wall. Airpods have been our saving grace.
8. Put Away the Vacuum
For reasons that don’t need an explanation, vacuuming while the other person is on a work call is a bad idea. With two small dogs who love to roll in the grass (and track tons of debris into the house), I vacuumed quite frequently before Brian worked from home. For this reason, I’ve switched to a daily habit of quick sweeps with a microfiber mop.
Using a microfiber dusting pad has helped reduce the allergens especially during allergy season. The microfiber pad holds in the allergens, unlike sweeping with a regular broom where the allergens continuously stir and rise off the ground. Plus, there’s no loud vacuum to interrupt my husband during his calls.
If I have the time, I’ll also moisten the microfiber pad (two different microfiber pads come in the Bona mop system for different floor types) and do a quick mop. Otherwise, I’ll use the disposable wet cleaning pads to save time.
The Bona Quick Clean System has a premium microfiber mop, disposable wet cleaning pads, and disposable dry dusting pads. It’s great for those times when I’m short on time but the state of the floors keeps me from concentrating on work. (I think I may be turning into Danny Tanner!)
9. Change Up Your Scenery
Sometimes you need to change the scenery of your working space. That’s the beauty of working from home: you can work from home or wherever strikes your fancy. While I’m a homebody and am perfectly comfortable working from home 24/7, Brian prefers to go to the local coffee shop to focus on work. Plus, it’s an easy way to avoid the embarrassment of unpredictable dog barking when on an important phone call.
10. Make More Play Time
Go on a date night. Spend quality time together. Spend quality alone time. Get out of the house.
Brian and I enjoy Taco Tuesdays at our local Mexican place, so that’s something we do together several times a month. He likes spending time at the pool, whereas I like catching up with my Netflix favorites with the pups curled next to me on the couch. He likes to have a guys’ night, whereas I enjoy local networking events.
You get the picture.
If you break up the monotony of working from home with planned activities, it’s a lot easier to focus on work when you’re home. Something I’d love to do is a date night each week. Just him and I, and it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It can be as simple as a drive to the beach each Friday after work with the pups. (Bri, if you’re reading this, here’s your hint…wink wink).
Make more time for fun this fall with the Bona Quick Clean System. What will you make time for?