Imagine these scenarios: you’re working from home, on an important work call. Meanwhile, your partner has incoming calls they can’t ignore. You move to a quieter part of your home, but still have difficulty tuning in on your call. Or you’re on a Google Meet video call and your partner decides to make a racket in the kitchen. Sound familiar?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees are self-isolating and working from home. It can be difficult to maintain your workflow confined in a space with loved ones, children, and pets. Here are a few ways you and your partner can share a home office without killing each other.

Instill Good Habits

If you’re still straightening out the kinks of teleworking, that’s okay. It may take weeks to figure out how to work with your loved one as your office partner. Here are a few habits you can instill to make teleworking manageable for you and your partner.

Go Get Changed

Seriously, do it. It’s simple. Instill good habits every day to start your day. This means to change into clothes other than pajamas. You may not be going to work, but it is important to establish a basic morning routine. It prepares you for the day ahead and helps your brain transition to work mode. 

Don’t Eat at Your Desk

When we work from home, we easily lose track of time. Carve out 30 minutes to an hour each day to be away from your office. You can use this time to regroup with your partner. Maybe whip up a quick lunch together or talk about each other’s workload. Or, for a change of environment have lunch in your patio or balcony.

Share a Calendar

For partners who live in an apartment or small home, share a calendar with each other to coordinate calls or meetings. This informs your partner what times you need available for work-related calls. It also establishes a ‘no distraction’ zone during meetings or calls.

Upgrade your Space

If you and your partner have trouble working from home, consider upgrading your space. Slow Wi-fi and lack of workspace can bog down anyone’s mood. Here are two ways to upgrade your space to a functional home office.

Have a Dedicated Office Space 

If you are working from home and don’t have a desk you’ve probably used the dinner table, bed, and sofa as working spaces. Instead, claim a part of your home for work purposes only. You may have to move some junk or furniture around to find the perfect spot. For those with limited space, repurpose furniture to make office space. For example, repurpose a tall cabinet or shelf as a standing desk. Whatever the case, make sure it is comfortable and functional.

Two Person Desks

If you like working with others, but don’t want to compromise functionality and comfort, invest in a two person desk. This is a great way to make your home or apartment more “office-like”. While they can get pricey, there are affordable two person desks that are perfect for any space.

Upgrade Wi-fi

When wi-fi slows, so does our work. Emails take ages to send, videos lag, and sometimes incoming emails take hours to arrive. If your household needs more bandwidth to handle your work consider upgrading your wi-fi plan. Especially if you have children studying online, a strong internet connection is a must.

Work with Your Partner ― Not Against Them

Accept the challenges that come along with sharing a home office with your partner. Especially during the first few weeks when you are adjusting to each other’s work style. Acknowledge you both need time to prioritize work and communicate any problems. Most importantly, have a sense of humor. It helps pass by time and lighten the mood.