“Create your own designated work spaces and have them set apart from each other. Ideally, your work spaces will be in separate rooms, but if that’s not possible, then at least allocate separate corners of the dining table. Doing this allows you to be able to retain focus and avoid getting frustrated by the unintended but constant distractions.”
When you first found out you would be #WFH you may have quietly cheered. No sweaty commute, no office politics and best of all, the chance to spend all day lounging around your home with your partner, holding hands across the dining table while writing reports, sneaking off for a quickie between conference calls. Full attention and quality time at last, right?
Keep dreaming…Two hours into day two and it appears that the honeymoon is already over. (And for those of you experiencing extended #WFH honeymoons, remember, smugness is not a virtue). For many, that rose-tinted vision subsided the minute you realised two is a crowd when it comes to your kitchen-table-turned-office, and you’re both on a Zoom call simultaneously, your partner eating crisps and booming loudly on their conference while you’re trying to look professional on yours.
And then there’s the issue of your partner thinking that 10.58 am is a suitable time to get jiggy just as your boss calls for another emergency meeting. But before you pick up the phone to the removals company, here are some top tips from Emotional Health Advisor, Writer and Instagram Agony Aunt, Roxie Nafousi, to ensure two hasn’t become one by the time the ban is lifted.
Respect Each Other’s Areas
If you’ve successfully allocated your own work spaces, make sure you respect each other’s boundaries. Don’t turn the music on as they’re taking a call, or walk past their video conference call in your pyjamas whilst brushing your teeth.
Break It Up
You’ve committed to working undistracted at home, with your designated work spaces, but pencil in your breaks and lunch times together at allocated times. Use this time to put your phones down and really give each other undivided attention. When WFH we can end up being always ‘on’ both work mode and home mood – it means that we are never giving either work or home life 100% of our attention; we are eating lunch whilst reading emails, or writing an article whilst watching TV. It means that with our partners we often forget to ever give them our proper focus and attention. When you are in work times, commit 100% of your focus to the task in hand, and when you are on break or lunch, make an extra effort to really listen to your partner, and take your ‘work hat’ off.
Change the Scene
When the work day is over, make an effort to change the vibe at home. Clear your work spaces if they are in the main living space, light some candles and create an ambience. Creating a distinction between the work day and the evenings together will keep you feeling like a couple and not just work colleagues. Make an extra effort to make the evenings feel like a date at home; get dressed out of your ‘day’ clothes, cook for one another, enjoy a glass of wine together and start a new series together so each evening you can look forward to watching a new episode together.
One thing we will all miss from going into the office is that ‘office banter’ and ability to brainstorm, bounce ideas off, and discuss our work with our colleagues. Although you might have never previously had any real interest in your partner’s job, you are now shifting roles at home to be not only partners, but each other’s only office mates, meaning it’s going to be so important to be able to give each other space to discuss work with each other freely, even if you are not actually that interested in their analytical reports.
After all, supporting each other, in any area of your life, is key to a great relationship, even more so now, in this uneasy and sometimes claustrophobic time. Once this is over, you may even look back at this time together as a true bonding experience.