How To Work From Home Together During A Quarantine: A Practical Guide To WFH Without Killing Someone
I have worked from home for years before the Corona outbreak forced everyone else to. Having been used to being in an office with colleagues and having a professional atmosphere all around, it's not the easiest thing to suddenly find yourself at home, and working on that important presentation with a dog or a baby in your nap, and nagging house mates screaming in the background. (i have been there!) So, I have a few important pointers on how to co-live when you find yourself working from home all day with people that are not your colleagues in the middle of a city lockdown. It could be your spouse, flatmate, whatever.
Corona will eventually, hopefully, go away but these will make you a better person to live with forever.
1) Respect each others’ professional time. Just cuz you see them around all the time, doesn’t mean they’re free. Know when they’re working, and do not impose. It's tempting to call your partner to show them something on your phone, to ask them something casual or expect them to run out for an errand, but understand, that people have a train of thought or focus and being distracted for even a few seconds can break or disrupt that concentration string and cause loss of productivity, and make the person irritable. If needed, have a code or signal for "Do not disturb" and do not abuse. Maybe you both can have separate rooms, or have codes like "do not disturb if headphones plugged in" or don't come in when "door locked"
2) Keep a lot of coffee or tea at the ready: The one thing you're gonna miss about working from your office is the lack of tea or coffee on tap. Unlike the office where you just amble over to the kitchenette and pour yourself a cuppa, needing one at home would either mean making it yourself or asking your house-mate to. Both can be potential source of conflicts. What I personally do to make sure I have a ready supply of tea all day long is make 4-5 cups of tea first thing in the morning, and keep it in an electric kettle. This keeps me sane when I want some and can have it within a few seconds. Besides, everyone loves being served a cup of tea in the middle of work. Use these little hack to strengthen your relationship.
3) Have your own desk: If you’re in the same room and have a single desk to work on, divide times when you’ll use the desk. Or create 2 separate makeshift desks. (trust me, this can be a deal breaker at times.) If the main work desk in the house is being used by one person, then maybe the other can double up the dining table as a make-shift desk, or use one of those ergonomic laptop tables or height raise tables. I mean whatever works!
4) Split house responsibilities. Just because the other person is diligent & responsible, doesn’t mean you just take a backseat. Own tasks. Your wife handles the groceries, cool, you take care of watering the plants. They cleaned the common area, maybe you could take out the trash. Respect another person's time as you want yours to be respected. Noone likes to be scrubbing a toilet when they could be reading, watching a movie, or working on a blog or a similarly intellectually-charged activity, but the drudgery of the daily has to be balanced with the pursuits of the mind.
5) Do not cause disruption: Watching videos loudly when someone’s sleeping? Or waking up too early and expecting the other person to be up when they’ve had a long night? No. Give them their space and let each handle their own schedule without being a nuisance. For example, don't keep the harsh light of the room on when someone's trying to sleep. Instead, get yourself a focus or a study lamp and shine the light only over your work space.
6) Set up a dedicated time to spend together away from work: Lines between professional and personal times can get blurred when working from home. While maintaining focus and productivity, it's almost important to not push the people around you away and make them feel ignored or snubbed. Take a lunch break to eat together with the family. Take the dogs on a long walk.
Spend a few hours watching a movie or shows and during this time, avoid using your phone or laptop.
Bonus: 7) Keep distractions away like Rhonda over here.