The new normal? Working from home with your partner..
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many couples will suddenly find themselves having to change their usual work routine and, rather going into an office or separate work environment, will have to adapt the home they share with their loved ones into a suitable working space. Having recently found myself in this position, I realised just how much I enjoy going into the office and the social interaction it brings.
I found the thought of not doing so daunting enough but when my husband announced he also had to work from home until further notice, I realised it was going to be quite challenging for our relationship to be in the house together 24/7. We decided that a few ground rules were needed not just to do our work but to ensure our marriage also survives.
Set a routine
We’ve all had the occasional day when we don’t have to go into the office and sit around a bit longer in the morning, drinking coffee in our dressing gown. For me that’s fatal so we have made it a priority to get up and dressed as we normally would but, something quite unique during the working week, is that some days we now have breakfast together but are always ready to start the working day at our usual time.
Separate work areas
Not everyone has the luxury of a study, but if you can work in separate rooms then you should. It will enable you to concentrate when needed, make important telephone calls and have meetings via skype without disturbing your partner. If you don’t have a separate room then you will both need to make compromises.
Communication between you is essential. It’s easy to argue about whose job is more important but, regardless of what your job involves, both are essential albeit perhaps in different ways. Knowing what each other’s working day looks like at the beginning of each day enables you to plan and avoid getting in each other’s way.
Take Breaks and get some fresh air
Being sat down all day at a computer or a laptop is physically and mentally detrimental so plan your working day. You both need refreshments and lunch. Some days you might not be able to have these together but if you can, try to do so. If you can get outside and take a walk, even better. Sometimes I forget my husband is in another room and its rather nice when I realise he’s around.
These are challenging times and right now we don’t know how long social distancing and self-isolation will last. The most testing time for any couple is when we are forced to spend prolonged periods of time together in an enclosed space. It’s important to remember we are all human, trying to find our way in unchartered waters. Give each other space when needed but also a hug when it feels like the outside world is closing in.
Vanda James is a partner in the family team. A collaboratively trained lawyer, Vanda has over 25 years experience of dealing with complex family law cases both within married and unmarried families. If you would like to get in touch to discuss this article, or any other aspect of family law, contact Vanda at firstname.lastname@example.org.