Working from home is a luxury that many are utilizing these days. It has incredible benefits: zero commute time, the ease of eating meals at home, and only have to get dressed from the waist up.
But what about when you’re sharing your home office with a spouse?
That concept may bring visions of shared coffee breaks and productive bliss, or it may bring up panic that you’ll be susceptible to distractions. Whichever way you lean, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself and your spouse for a successful coworking experience. Have a look.
Invest in a space that not only works but feels good
In order to perform at your best in your home office, create a layout that is not only functional but feels like a place you’d like to spend a lot of time. Be creative when creating a home office space. Sharing one cramped desk is a recipe for tension, both physically and in your marriage. Do your best to accommodate both of your needs: two workstations will probably be a necessity, which may require some creativity. What they look like depends on each individual’s professional and personal needs, but do yourselves a favor and don’t plan to share a single desk.
Beyond that? Choose paint colors, lighting, and decorations that make the space bright, comfortable, and welcoming. Make sure there is adequate air flow, natural light if possible, and declutter the area regularly to keep it feeling like a space for productivity and focus.
Get separate technology for the items you use regularly, share the ones you don’t
Consider the office items that you’ll need and determine what you can share and what you can’t. You should each have your own:
- Phone line
- Portable phone headsets if you do a lot of conferencing
- Internet connection jack (don’t share the WiFi)
- Noise-canceling headphones if you need help staying focused while your spouse is being noisy
You could share things like printers, shredders, and other items to save money and space. Filing cabinets can be split – you have one drawer, your spouse has the other – but make sure it is situated so you can both access what you need without getting in the other’s way.
Establish guidelines that support productivity and ease
If you want to share home office space with your spouse and maintain a healthy and vibrant marriage, this one is key. Make no assumptions and discuss what you need – and what you specifically oppose – in your workspace. Consider discussing things like:
- Do you need to take calls into another room or can you accept them in the office? Are there any privacy concerns?
- How do you define a “clean office”, anyway?
- Wear headphones if you want to listen to music.
- How will you ensure that there is no chance your paperwork will get shuffled together?
Keep your home office truly work-focused
That means keeping the rest of life out of the office space – like conversations about the movie last night, or commentary on how much time your spouse spends on social media. While you’re still husband and wife in a home office, you also become defacto colleagues during the hours you spend there – and colleagues afford one another some privacy and space. Do your best to save the more personal, non-work conversations to your lunch break or other off-hours.