When we first started our business, we were thrilled at the idea of spending all day every day together, and had so many plans for how carefree and romantic our life would be.
But, as it turns out, the adjustment to the work-from-home-life isn’t an easy one, and it’s made increasingly difficult when you have to share a desk.
So now, after two years of experience, we have a lot of insight to offer on how to make it work.
(We also upgraded to a MUCH bigger desk.)
We’ve put together a handful of our tried + true work-from-home practices to help you keep your most productive + most passionate selves intact, while working from home with your partner.
Start the day with a “meeting,” where you come together to share what you’re working on, any goals or time-sensitive issues that might impact tension or schedule, and make sure the other is aware of the tasks you need to accomplish (work and personal). This will help you stay on the same page, keep each other accountable, and avoid any leave-me-alone-I’m-trying-to-work frustrations.
Let us say this loud, for anyone who’s been feeling guilty: It’s OKAY, and often NECESSARY, to work in separate rooms! Claim a workspace that makes you feel inspired — and they *definitely* don’t have to be the same one. We all have totally different ways of functioning and absorbing information, so lean into yours and let your S/O do what feels good for them, too. Come together when it makes sense, but don’t force it. ⠀
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a ton of space to spread out, headphones might be your new best friend.
The “Me Time”
Determine activities that are strictly *YOURS* and make time for them every day. For example, since we’ve been together even more these days (which, turns out, WAS possible), we keep our workouts very separate to ensure we have some time to really reset our brains without the other nearby.
The Mid-Day Check-in
Whether or not you work in the same industry, you now have a live-in sounding board. We take for granted the benefit of an outside perspective. Add a midday check-in, like lunch, to reconnect and share what you’ve been up to and anything you may need a hand with – but don’t interrupt your partner’s workflow to ask questions unless they’ve given you an invitation to do so. Use each other as resources, respectfully.
The Chill Zone
Solo quiet time is key — and if it wasn’t a part of your routine before, it ULTRA needs to be now. It’s easy to want to pack your days with calls and video chats to find connection, but if you’re living and working at home with your spouse, you’re going to be craving some true downtime. Don’t forget to take time that is just about YOU, whatever that looks like (even 10 minutes does the trick).
The Honest Communication
This is big, big, BIG. Ask for support *before* you feel overwhelmed, so that it comes from a place compassion instead of panic. If you think you might need help with something later in the day, or could use a little extra time at lunch to troubleshoot something, voice these feelings with enough time to give your partner a heads up and come up with a strategy together.
The Boundary Setting
Be open about when work talk is on the table and when it’s not. Boundaries *literally* only exist if you set them. It doesn’t have to look the same every day — but if you’re in the middle of cooking dinner and you don’t feel like chatting about anything work-related until tomorrow, come right out and SAY THAT before it puts you in a sour mood.
The End-of-day Reset
At the end of the work day, plan an activity that takes you away from work and brings you back to each other. There’s nothing worse than rolling off the laptop and straight into cooking dinner. Break. Breathe. Re-enter your relationship. It’ll feel waaay more like a date night, and will help shake off any work feelies before you start connecting as a couple again.
Let’s be real – this is a massive adjustment and NO ONE has all the answers.
But, if any of these little tidbits and tools can help you work-from-home with more ease + gentleness towards each other – we’re here for that. And we’re here for YOU if you have any further questions about how we’ve been making it work the last few years.
Just want to vent? Shoot us a DM anytime at @ohsierracreative.
Images captured VIA FACETIME in quarantine by the incredible Rae Connell.