Working from home with a partner can be either very rewarding or very challenging, depending on your relationship with your partner and the type of work you both do.
To get the most out of this unique arrangement, it helps to take a strategic approach in setting up your home offices. Communicating with your partner on an ideal setup that supports both of your missions will leave both of you happier and, in turn, more productive.
Here’s how you should set up your home office when you work from home with your partner.
Establish offices in separate rooms
If you have space, it helps to set up your offices in separate rooms. This allows you to focus and concentrate without another person on hand to distract you from your work.
Some people work better with an office mate, so if that’s what you and your partner prefer then you should work in the same general vicinity.
If you can’t use separate rooms, invest in a divider
Due to space restrictions, you two may have no choice but to work in the same room. If that’s the case, you may want to invest in a divider. This turns one room into two, giving each of you a mini-room in which to work with some degree of privacy.
Post your calendar or schedule where your partner can see
While you and your partner will no doubt talk intermittently throughout the day, you should post your calendar or schedule somewhere that’s visible to your partner. That way they can see when your busy or when you’re free.
Posting your schedule allows them to talk to you at times you’re not otherwise occupied. Having your partner do the same will allow you to avoid interrupting them as well.
Give each other equal amounts of space
When you’re setting up your home office space, make sure you give each other an equal amount of space in the interest of fairness. If one of you requires more space that can certainly be worked out, but it’s important to start from an equitable baseline.
Set up a supply station you can both use
You and your partner may have to purchase different supplies such as pens, notepads, envelopes, or other office materials needed to do your job. Even if you have to purchase these items separately, you can set up a single supply station where both of you can go to restock whatever office supplies you need throughout the day.
Setting up a single station for supplies allows you both to save space in your home office that can be dedicated to either of your desks.
Give both offices easy access to the bathroom and kitchen
If you can avoid it, don’t set up you or your partner’s desk in a place that will force you or them to disrupt the other person as they go to the bathroom or kitchen for lunch or a snack. Give them the opportunity to get up and down from their desk throughout the day without feeling like they’re causing a distraction.
Identify alternate work areas
You may choose to deviate from your normal office routine to work from your couch or bedroom. Your partner may opt to do the same. This isn’t a bad thing – it’s one of the many perks of working from home.
Just make sure that any alternative work areas don’t interfere with your partner’s workspace when you use it. This can be achieved by establishing clear lines of communication on where you plan to work on a given day.