Over the last couple of years, many of us have found ourselves having to work and study from home. Unfortunately, modern houses are not designed with multiple home office spaces in mind. This often means you might need to share your workspace with your significant other, or other members of your family.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but unfortunately that’s not exactly an option in many cases! Here are some tips to help you cope with sharing a home office, without driving each other insane:
Set ground rules
When it comes to sharing a home office it is very important that you set ground rules. We will cover some of them below, such as how you handle privacy issues, but some things to think about are:
What drinks and snacks (if any) are allowed to be consumed in the home office? A cup of tea and a biscuit is very different to a smelly tuna sandwich.
Will you listen to music or the radio throughout the day, or work in silence? If you are listening to the radio or music, who decides what you will listen to and what the volume will be set at?
Will you take it in turns to make each other drinks throughout the day, or are you all fending for yourselves?
Divide the space
Dividing up the space with separate desks or workstations will help you to stay out of each other’s way and have a dedicated space to leave your work or study items. It will also help to reduce distractions.
Separate your items
There are some supplies and equipment that you will want to keep for yourself, and some that you are happy to share. For example, you could easily share a printer but you might want your own laptop or PC to work from. If that isn’t possible then creating separate accounts on the laptop or PC will help everyone to work more efficiently.
Decide what items will be shared and what won’t be from the offset.
Decide how to handle privacy
If you are sharing a home office then what will happen if you and someone else needs to be on a Zoom meeting at the same time? Or how do you deal with business and client privacy if your partner or child(ren) are in the room whilst you are on a confidential Zoom meeting?
Decide how this will work – perhaps one of you will take a break whilst the other is on a Zoom meeting, or Zoom meetings will take place in another room of the house.
Create a motivational environment
Working from home can be a massive perk, but your environment really matters when it comes to motivating yourself.
It could be that your home office needs a spruce up with new paint on the walls, or you might decide to re-arrange the furniture for a better flow of energy. Some motivational prints on the wall could be all it takes to make it a motivational environment for you.
With sharing a home office comes lots of extra equipment, paperwork and item. It might be that you decide to remove some furniture or decorative items from the home office and that you all make an effort to clean up after yourselves.
Get out of the home office
Sharing a home office can really take its toll, so try to get out of the home office on your breaks.
Even better, aim to get out of the house by going for a walk or running quick errands in your lunch break.
Stretching your legs and getting some sun exposure will do a world of wonders for you.
Noise-cancelling headphones are a game-changer when it comes to sharing a home office.
If you like different music or you need to take a lot of phone calls then they can be an excellent way to create harmony in your shared working space.
When it comes to sharing a home office with a loved one then it can be easy to start talking about your home life, what’s for dinner and whether you have paid that bill yet.
Try to stay focused by keeping these conversations away from the home office.
This also applies to using the home office for leisure activities. If you enjoy sitting on a comfy chair and reading in your home office then consider whether you can move it elsewhere within your home so that you don’t confuse your workspace with leisure time.
Most importantly, be considerate to the other users of the home office. This means clearing up after yourself, regularly discussing whether your arrangements are still working and keeping to the rules that you have all decided on.