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It’s time to reinvent the workday. Thanks to the spread of coronavirus many of us are working from home with our partner, some with children and some without. With this comes an opportunity to rethink the way we live and restructure the way we work. 

You want to be productive, right? You also still want to be with your partner at the end of this, right? To help ensure this happens, there are two things to keep in mind. One, boundaries are king right now. If you want your relationship to survive, and thrive, during this quarantine, you and your partner will need to work together to come up with some ground rules for working from home. And two, you can’t expect your partner to read your mind. These times are calling for our very best communication skills and this means talking openly and honestly as much as possible. With that being said, here are ten more tips for how to (successfully) work at home with your partner, and come out alive, during the coronavirus quarantine. 

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  1. Establish separate workspaces. If you’re able to, set up offices in separate rooms. This will give both of you personal space away from noise and distraction. If separate workrooms aren’t possible in your living situation, set up individual workstations using desks, tables, or improvising and finding a way to work from the couch, floor, etc. Agree to respect each other’s “home offices” and do your best to be productive when you are there.

  2. Follow a similar work schedule. If you and your partner are able to follow the same work schedule, it may make things easier. If possible, agree to begin and end the workday at the same time. The result will be that you are both able to focus on work when you are in “the office” and can clock off together and enjoy playtime as well. 

  3. Dress for the job. Right now, it’s tempting to wear sweatpants all day. After all, who would know? But working from home requires discipline and getting dressed in the morning is likely to make you feel better about yourself. Get up in the morning like you normally would, make your bed, take a shower, and get dressed; chances are you’ll feel more energized and productive.

  4. Organize your day. Each morning, sit down with your partner, look at your schedules, and talk about what each of you will be working on. This will ensure you are on the same page when one of you has a conference call, a Zoom meeting, or an important deadline to meet. Transparency and communication are important quarantine tools and it’s better to have too much communication than not enough.

  5. Don’t distract one another. Try not to intrude on one another’s workspace or get in the way of creative flow.  If you decide to take a break but your partner is working, hold off on asking them what’s for dinner, how to start the laundry, or when the dog was fed. Respect the fact that he or she is at work. When needed, use headphones to create a buffer between the two of you. If you have a two-hour conference call while your partner is taking a meeting, headphones can help mitigate distractions.

  6. Respect each other’s work styles. For most of us, this is our first time working from home and the first time working side-by-side with our partner. Take time to learn each other’s workflow. For example, does your partner like to sit still and concentrate, or walk around for ideas? Do you like banter while you work or do you need complete silence?

  7. Eat lunch together. Just as you would when working at the office, take a lunch break. Step away from your computer and your phone, cook or order takeout, and if possible, take a walk around the block together for some sun and fresh air.

  8. Create a fun and productive work environment. In addition to setting up home offices, there are other things you can do to create a productive home work environment. Do you like binaural beats playing in the background for concentration, an essential oil diffuser to keep you alert, or a fresh pot of coffee at the ready? Talk to your partner and implement what things work best for you both.

  9. Have an end of the day check-in. This is the time to talk about what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be changed or improved in the future. 

  10. Don’t forget to have romantic time together. All work and no play is a recipe for stress. Just as it’s important to have time dedicated only to work, it’s also important to have time to relax and enjoy each other’s company “off the clock”. You’re more than just co-workers, after all, and there’s more to life than just work. 

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Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to relationship therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope with working at home with your partner and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.   

Relationship therapy can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process and help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love healthy.