(home) office romance.
How to keep your partner from feeling like a coworker.
What does a work-life balance look like when we are confined to a single space? And how does that get emphasized when you add in your significant other? I bet it's not the office romance you may have fantasized about. We often see more of our coworkers than our partners, especially during the week, so what happens since we’ve made a temporary shift?
If it wasn’t hard enough already to focus on your to-do list without falling into an endless Twitter scroll, in your new conference call-driven lifestyle, you might find yourself struggling even more. But don’t worry: There are ways to make the workday a little more bearable while also restoring harmony to your home. After all, if you’re spending all your time inside, you might as well make it nice and cozy (more on that here). But when you need to get your work done, a few more changes are necessary.
Honor your commute Listening to The Daily as you hold onto your shower curtain rod isn’t all that dissimilar to riding the bus to the office, and sitting on your couch as you play NPR can replace your morning drive. Or you could just go for an isolation walk—to get your creative juices flowing and get some much needed fresh air.
Construct your own cubicle No matter how you feel about open floor plan offices, you have to admit that a confined work area can really help you focus. Build your own makeshift walls around your laptop with a couple stacks of books and you might just be less distracted when your partner starts their mid-day ab workout. Add a plant for company and you’re set.
Establish the water cooler Small talk at the Keurig or water cooler is one of the few respites of a normal workday—it’s the one spot where, for 5 minutes or so, it’s OK to be unproductive. If you’re sticking with your 9-to-5 remotely, designate a place in your home that can serve the same purpose (and try to avoid chatting unless you’re there).
Separate the bedroom from the boardroom Once it hits 3 p.m., the temptation of a comfortable mattress is too much for most anyone to resist. “Commute” from your bedroom (leisure zone) to your living room (work zone) when you’re ready to start the day and don’t even think about getting back in there until you’re ready to wrap things up (and ready for some me- or we-time).
Talk it out Look to someone who knows how to deal with small spaces—astronaut Anne McClain shared some of her best advice on Twitter, and above all, she stresses: Just say how you feel. (And if it helps, making up a fake coworker as a scapegoat for all those empty glasses around the apartment might just help too.)