Working from home doesn’t have to drain your relationship. In fact, it presents an opportunity to deepen your connection with your spouse.
Here, business and relationship experts Richard and Namaste, reveal five tips for couples working from home together.
1. Understand how you both work
“Everyone has a zone of genius. Everybody has a way of working that optimises their productivity, as well as their creativity. For instance, some people, like to work quietly, undisturbed in absolute silence. Other people work in short bursts of activity, and that’s how their creativity and their productivity flows best.
When you are working at home together as a couple, it’s important for both of you to know how you work best and communicate that to your partner using specifics.
Sit down and have a conversation and say things like, ‘Hey, between the hours of eight and 10 is when I do my best writing. I like to not be disturbed during that time.’ Or, ‘Babe, between the hours of one and two, I get kind of tired. So, I frequently like to get up and walk around. Is it okay if I come in and chat with you a little bit, because that helps get my creative juices flowing a little better for work?’”
2. Designate responsibility
“The love you feel for each other is no substitute for communicating about how you will handle working from home. It’s nice to imagine, ‘well, we’ll love each other. We’ll just work it out’.
However, in reality designations must be made or nothing will get done.
If you have children, who is going to make sure that the noise level is down and the children are taken care of if one of you are on a conference call?
Or if the children need something, who’s going to tend to them? Not only do these and other issues need to be discussed and decided upon, it’s also helpful to institute an actual schedule to be followed, because what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done.
This means if you have a conversation about who’s going to take care of the kids and you say ‘we’ll just take turns; and you leave it like that, there will eventually be a conflict.
You need to jointly decide upon specific times, specific dates and specific activities. If one partner says, ‘I’ll keep the children quiet,’ they may not realise that also includes giving them lunch or snacks, for example. More discussion about the potential nuances of this situation is better. Not less.”
3. Don’t bring the org chart home
“In your businesses, you may have positions that are completely different from each other. Working together from home means that your relationship takes precedence over everything – even if one of you is the vice president and the other is a receptionist. It doesn’t matter. You still have to discuss these things as equal, loving partners in the relationship. No one pulls rank on the other person. When you are working from home, if you both value your positions and what you do, you must work together to create a shared language based upon mutual respect and appreciation.
You may be used to having a team of people at your beck and call because of your position in the company. At home, it’s just you and your husband or your wife, and the children. The team is gone.
So, you have to figure out a way to navigate potential conflicts together. Either you need to bring additional resources in, or you need to have a conversation. This isn’t to say that your spouse can’t serve as that support, but it needs to be handled as this is your spouse you are requesting this from, not your admin assistant!”
4. Be camera ready
“We’ve all seen the video clips where adorable kids interrupt a broadcast and wander into an office. And the mayhem that ensues when the needs of trying to present a business-like demeaner on-screen collides with the joyful chaos of a toddler.
We live in a digital world. Undoubtedly, there are going to be either phone calls or video meetings that are going to be live. And you need to think about your video presence ahead of time. Where are you going to sit when you’re on camera and are people going to be moving around in the background?
You’ll want to minimise those potential interruptions as often as possible. With just a little planning and some forethought regarding the following, the two of you can always appear your professional best.
What’s the best place in your home to do video meetings? What equipment will you need, like lighting and microphones, in order to be able to get your meeting done and have it be as professional as possible, understanding the limitations of the environment?
You want to make sure that your partner knows what you need and you figure out who’s going to keep the kids occupied. You also need to have a short cut way of communicating what’s going on – so investing in a light up ‘on air’ sign or closing the office door can be a good idea. Also, if you need your partner to assist you with making sure you look your best and making sure that the environment looks its best, that can also be a bonding place for your relationship as a part of that.
5. Use working from home to bring you closer together
“When you are working from home, you’re bringing home and work closer together. Make sure that you are still making time for each other. If you normally have lunch together three times a week, this is a wonderful opportunity to increase that to five times a week. Leave the house, go to a café or have a picnic and dedicate time for each other.
Don’t get into the habit of thinking that because you work together all the time that you still don’t need romantic time.
You still require time connecting with one another on a romantic, loving intimacy building level, and not just a business level. Do not reduce your relationship to just being one of being business partners or coworkers.
This is a great time to start flirting through the day or having risqué moments that are impossible when you’re not working from home. Use this opportunity to spice it up!”
ABOUT: Richard and Namaste (aka The Infinite Couple) have a combined 50 years’ experience as relationship alchemists and spiritual leaders, helping couples amplify their relationship and business life.