Can I tell you a secret? When Colby started working from home about 7 years ago, I thought I was going to lose my mind. In fact, we made him work in a closet!
Okay, it was a very large walk-in closet with a floor to ceiling window, but a closet nonetheless.
- He was messing up our routine. BIG TIME.
- He needed quiet for business calls.
So, the closet was our best option in the house we lived in at the time. It was upstairs, attached to our master bedroom, and away from everything and everyone else all day.
Plus, as I mentioned, it had a nice window where he could look out over the front yard and get some fresh air.
It’s not like it was a dungeon.
Since we homeschool and I was already working from home as well, this was how we made things work.
Eventually though, he moved on from that job and eventually transitioned full-time into blogging. With me. Working side-by-side every day.
I’d be lying if I told you it was a smooth transition. It was challenging.
Even though he had worked from home for a small stint already, this was new.
He put up a desk near mine and was there, in his chair, typing away, as much as I was.
Therefore, we had to learn to work together, as well as be alone; together.
Tips for Couples Working from Home
Think about how things would flow if you and your spouse were sitting in corporate cubicles. What boundaries would you set for your co-workers?
Establish ground rules from the beginning that allow both of you to be productive and respectful.
Consider what each job entails (phone calls, recordings, transcribing, etc.) and the work environment each of you need to get your work done.
Evaluate the need for separate work spaces and find ways to make sure your home office set-up is conducive to meeting your needs.
As I mentioned, I am an introvert. I need plenty of personal space and room to breathe. It’s important to be respectful to both of your needs when it comes to this.
If you have the ability to work in separate areas of the house, this may be easier than if you share a workspace.
If you do share a home office, perhaps you can take separate lunches, alternate who cares for the kids, or set up schedules that allow one of you to work at a time.
Find a solution that works best for both of you, yet still offers ample opportunity for work to get done.
Of course, much of this can be established by simply communicating. Talk openly about what you need to work efficiently and be open to listening to your spouse’s needs as well.
Keep the lines of communication open and, perhaps even more importantly, try to keep your work conversation separate from your family conversation.
Yes, that can be challenging when the two often coincide, but at least attempt to find a fair balance between the two.
Send texts or IMs to each other; even when you’re sitting in the same room. Use Post-It Notes to tell your spouse you can’t be bothered. It’s okay to say, “We need to discuss this later.”
The important thing here is to simply communicate your individual needs and respect each other’s wishes.
Step away from your workspace every now and then, just as you would in the corporate world, to take a break.
I don’t mean a bathroom break, I mean a break.
Stretch your legs. Take a walk around the block. Sit at the kitchen table and enjoy a light snack. Make a coffee run.
We can all use a break from things and working from home is no exception.
Also? Set business hours.
We close the doors to our office every evening at a set time so that we can devote the rest of our day to our kids and our marriage.
In addition to space, you may find working with your spouse can also have its bonuses.
As you go about your day and have regular, non-business related conversations, you might share goals or tasks with your spouse you want/need to complete.
By doing so, you can have an accountability partner at your side to help hold you accountable when it comes to making your work goals.
After all, working with your spouse doesn’t have to be ALL doom and gloom.
More than just taking short breaks throughout the day, be sure to get out of the house when you can too.
Whether it’s a regular date night, nice lunch, or a weekend trip, take the time to be together as husband and wife rather than co-workers.
Your marriage should come first and this is a great way to foster that relationship while still maintaining a productive work environment.
Cherish the Closeness
When you see your spouse 24/7, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Personally, we love the time we can spend together. It’s been great for our marriage and our relationship has thrived over the past 7 years because of it.
Once you can both establish a good work/life balance, things will begin to run smoothly. Just as in your marriage, it’s all about learning to adjust and compromise.
Adjust to the new normal in your workspace.
Compromise on meeting each other’s needs; both as a couple and co-workers.
Finally, nurture your relationship. Find ways to keep the romance alive and continue to support each other all aspects of your lives together.
Similar to learning to work alongside a stranger at a new job, there’s an adjustment period. The difference is, you know this co-worker. Personally. Intimately.
You can both do this!
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