Working from home can be fun and exciting for a lot of people! You get the comfort of your home while getting work done plus the added bonus of getting to see your partner and/or kids more often than you might working in the office. But for some, this can be quite the challenge. If your kids are off school or you and your partner are sharing a workspace, getting in the zone and staying productive can prove to be almost impossible. So how do you do it (without pulling a Henry VIII)? Here are six tips to get you started!
Create healthy expectations. Healthy expectations can create a more peaceful work environment and add an element of consistency to your work day. Wish your husband would start clipping his toenails or brushing his teeth in the morning? Just call it a healthy expectation and then send a passive aggressive email to his work address about unsafe working conditions. Whatever your needs are, just be sure to communicate.
“It’s a team effort. Establishing rules, or maybe the better term is expectations, early on was important. My wife and I tried to teach the kids that Dad was still at work, and that it needed to be treated that way. Interruptions occur every once in a while, but for the most part creating the “normal” within the abnormal has helped us maintain our routine and allowed me to be effective at home. Then when it’s time for work to end, they know my focus turns 100% to them.”
Communicate. Discovering ways to express yourself and listen to your partner can really improve an already difficult working-from-home situation. Find yourself in a screaming match with your partner three times a day? We recommend bringing it down to two screaming matches and leaving their texts on read even though you work in the same room.
“We use our own slack instance to have random chatter about nonsense that doesn’t require an immediate conversation. Being able to have multiple channels for different topics vs one giant text thread is great.”
Set appropriate boundaries. Boundaries are important in any relationship, work or personal. For example, if you would like to keep work meetings confidential, ask that your partner leave the room for calls or set up a separate room in the house for video conferencing. If you find yourself getting annoyed by your spouse then ask for more appropriate “social distancing” and kick them out of the house for an hour or two.
Work as a team. Try bouncing work ideas off each other, having your partner proofread your emails, or use each other to vent about how difficult your boss is being. If your kids are being too loud upstairs, team up and teach them a lesson about Nerf bullets to the back of the head.
“The first week was definitely an adjustment. As time has gone on I have felt a little better about having the whole crew home, and have learned to not schedule meetings during kid school time, or kid lunch time. My wife and I have tried to create ways to help each other accomplish what we need to do during the day without losing our sanity.”
“Both me and my wife have full time jobs and no baby sitter at the moment. The most common line is: “Hey, I have a call in 20 min can you come and watch the kid for 30 min.” Said at least 3 times per day. It has been an adjustment but we have made it work.”
Have fun. Just like you might play a quick game of ping pong at work or send your coworkers funny GIFs, try having fun with your partner so you enjoy remote work as much as you might enjoy in-office work. Is your husband on a video call with his boss? Try putting him in a choke hold and see how long the sucker lasts. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.
“My husband and I both work in separate parts of the house so we don’t drive each other nuts and distract each other. We also take 15-20 minutes every couple of hours to go on a walk around the neighborhood. It’s helpful to have someone remind me to take breaks!”
Find new ways to connect. Connecting with your spouse regularly and in new ways can be a much needed relief from work. Finding ways to connect with your spouse can lead to greater satisfaction in your relationship. Do a puzzle, take a hike together, or have a candle-lit dinner – find a way to ensure your relationship grows from this. Trying new things together can foster vulnerability and, as a result, greater connection.
Remote work can be a great experience with your partner or spouse. We understand it can be difficult, but with a few tips and a little practice we’re confident and can be positive for everyone involved. Here at Zight (formerly CloudApp) our mission is to help you be more productive and remove roadblocks so you can focus on what’s important. For more tips on remote work, check out our resources page. Good luck!