Part of the efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19 is limiting physical movement, this affected a lot of industries where their employees are required to be physically present for them to perform their jobs, i.e. the automotive, food, and medical industry, etc. There are, however, people who are lucky enough to have worked in industries where their jobs can be accomplished while working at home, mostly in the technology industry.
In the past couple of weeks, the internet became awash with tips and tricks on how to be more productive while working at home, but most of them appear to assume that everyone working at home is by themselves. But what if you work with your partner at home? This situation poses another set of challenges that you both have to deal with. Here are some tips that could help both of you stay sane and productive while you work at home.
Separate Your Work Areas
Working beside your partner sounds like a dream come true, teasing each other as you are both writing reports, these all sound sweet but it practically ruins productivity for both of you. Our advice is, if you have separate rooms, you should each occupy one. You should both avoid working in places like the kitchen and the living room which does develop a whole load of distractions, these areas are reserved for when you need to take a break. If, however, you don’t have a choice and are stuck working in the same room, you should respect each other’s work area and have a clear division, also use headphones to avoid unnecessary noise that only causes distraction.
Determine Your Work Hours And Stick To It
Okay, your home is not exactly an office, nor does it closely resemble one, but if you want to achieve the utmost productivity, you should treat it like one. You should devise a fixed work hour, as you would with say, a 9 to 5 job and you should both stick to it. While working within your schedule, you should both commit to only doing work, build the expectation for your partner on how your day would look like so both of you are aware when each other would need extra silence and the least amount of interruptions. One tool we found that could help you do it is to share a Google Calendar of your upcoming tasks, so you both see them projected, or even go as simple as writing them on a piece of sticky note and putting them on your whiteboard.
Of course, you and your partner would have differences in the way you achieve productivity, and to find the balance, you and your partner must experiment with it and see what works. Find a common time where you both could take a break and talk about stuff, this helps not hinder each one’s productivity as it is planned. It could also be that your partner does the work in a rigid timeframe, and you work in bursts of at a maximum of 20 minutes then take short breaks in between. It doesn’t matter, just remember to respect the fact that just because your workday is over, it doesn’t mean that your partner is too. Sticking to the fixed schedule we talked about earlier is a very effective way for you two to be productive most of the time. Because it would be hard for both of you to stay focused when one works, and the other says, does the chores.
Eat And Go Out Together
Just because we talk about separating you and your partner’s work areas, doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourselves from each other. Just utilize the time that you guys have that you wouldn’t have otherwise if it wasn’t for the quarantine. Have lunch together, think of it as an opportunity to have a date in the middle of the workday. This also gives both of you time to talk about anything, like planning your vacation.
Working from home does mean we work even longer hours than we would compare to a traditional office setting. Because we don’t have to factor in the commute to and from the office we just spend the time we saved doing more work, this means sitting on your chair in front of the computer, even longer. So why not on your breaks, invite your partner to go for a walk to the nearby park, or the nearest coffee shop to grab a coffee. Consider walking around from 15 to 30 minutes, this not only makes you fitter, but it also clears your mind so when you get back to work, you feel refreshed and more creative.
Avoid Distracting Each Other
It doesn’t matter whether you work at home or in the office, either way could make or break your productivity. Whatever the case is though, it’s alright to not be productive every minute of the time, that’s because remember, you are a human being, not a robot. A planned break from time to time is certainly essential to keeping the sanity between you and your partner.
The most important thing that you should remember is that you’re coworkers now, so you should give your partner the same level of space as you would give your coworkers when they work, or when they are in a meeting or having conference calls. When you need something from your partner you should approach them the same way you would approach your coworkers in the office and start by asking them if they have time to talk, rather than just barging in their work area and immediately start talking.
The trickiest part of finding the balance between being productive and staying sane while working with your partner at home is putting up the boundaries between an office and the home. Consider our tips as a baseline where to start building the perfect setup for you and your partner, because at the end of the day, no one solution fits all the issues.