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Working From Home: How to Survive 24/7 with Your Partner

Remember how just days or weeks ago, the most annoying person in your office was Lily from accounting? Now, meet your new co-worker in this ‘circuit breaker’ season: your partner (family members applicable too!) 

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“To have and to hold… and to spend every waking moment with each other?”

The change in your couple dynamic can be unsettling when both of you are now working from home, but here’s how to play it: 

1. Set up separate workspaces 

There’s nothing worse than being disrupted when you’re on a roll with a project or have to focus to meet a deadline. We recommend you and your partner pinpoint designated workspaces or time of the day when you need absolute focus and ban any distractions. 

Pro-tip: Find ways to demonstrate you’re available for an interruption, e.g. sitting at the dining room table signals you can handle a pause; if the door is closed all the way signals “do not disturb!”

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2. Be mindful of noises and provide constructive feedback

Noises, like slamming the door shut, or washing dishes at the sink, can turn heads if one of you is in a meeting. While we’re certain there’s no solution for getting rid of family distractions entirely (no, you can’t tie them up or lock them in a soundproofed room), clear communication can make this situation more bearable for everyone. 

Pro-tip: Build a shared calendar where you can alert each other of meetings and other events. Then, give each other space during conference calls and respect each other’s work hours throughout the day. 

3. Schedule your day for parenting duties

As schools close and most children begin taking classes online from home, firming down your new routine is even more important now with kids in the mix. We suggest you and your partner organise childcare and parenting duties around both your levels of productivity. 

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Pro-tip: If one of you works better in the mornings, claim that time to focus while the other watches the kids. If both of you like to (or have to) work at the same point in the day, take turns.

4. Spousal distancing

For sure, you and your partner are spending plenty of time together now. To avoid burnout, build in some daily me-time for each person. After all, it’s the universal law that each of us needs some personal space for our overall well-being. 

Pro-tip: Do some reading at your very own quiet corner or meditate to help recharge your mind and body. Who knows, spending an hour in the kitchen preparing dinner alone could be therapeutic too!

5. Blame ‘Frank’

In moments of tension, we could all use a scapegoat, especially when you’re stuck in the same home for weeks. Why not create an imaginary one to avoid pointing fingers at each other? Blame an imaginary co-worker instead, like “I can’t believe Frank didn’t do the dishes!” or “Frank is such a loud worker!” This would help break the tension, and it’s alright to laugh. After the laughs, just remember to, you know, figure out who’s actually going to do the dishes.

6. Make a date out of it

You don’t have to totally isolate yourself from your partner (unless you’re sick, then do so as much as possible). Take advantage of the fact that you guys get time together that you don’t usually have. 

Pro-tip: Take lunches together if time allows — it’s almost like a date in the middle of the day. Or give each other sweet little gestures throughout the day for a big morale boost!

Try to give your partner the same basic level of courtesy and tolerance you would give a co-worker in the office. We’re all trying to get through this together, and we can’t stress the importance of kindness and respect enough. Remember, you’re at work, but you’re not actually at work. Explore, play around, and find the things that work best for both of you!

Staying at home doesn’t have to be a bore when you’ve got cool tips and tricks to stay productive, connected, and positive. Lockdown or not, we’ve got you covered with our Stay Home Guide — tap to read more!

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