Patti Smylie, Realtor® ReMax Accord Tri Valley

If you can work from home during social distancing you may be finding it challenging due to the fact that more than one of your household is also sharing the same space. Figure out how much is too much togetherness for you. While those who work in separate spheres from their spouse may romanticize the vision of getting to spend day after day with their loved one, it’s important to think about ways you and your spouse, child (or friend or roommate) can work efficiently through our current health safety protocols.
While some work-from-home pairs find that their work styles and rhythms blend, others may be surprised to experience annoyance at having someone else literally underfoot while working their remote jobs simultaneously. You don’t want to start resenting your partner, co-parent, or pal if familiarity starts to breed contempt, so find ways to help keep everyone sane.

When dual remote working works, the ingredient of success behind the good vibes is often respect. Understanding what the other person needs in terms of his or her work environment can go a long way toward a smooth work-cohabitation situation.

For example, if you like to do projects while listening to music but your spouse can’t concentrate unless there is complete silence, show respect by donning headphones, and avoid interrupting her every five minutes with your retelling of something you just read on Facebook.

Don’t neglect the house. Two busy remote workers can find themselves vying to avoid household chores. With both people facing deadlines and needing to schedule client calls while also needing to prepare and eat three meals a day, quite a few dishes can be generated—not to mention trash, laundry, and general messes.

While these things are also true to some extent when you work in an office, no one expects such chores to get completed by employees during the day—there are janitors paid to clean up and take out trash after hours. Partners and other pairs who work from home together, on the other hand, need to figure out their plan of attack for making meals, doing food shopping, and keeping their home/office space habitable, even if that involves nobody dong any significant cleanup until the weekend.

Know that this will mean someone is always there…for better or for worse.
Some telecommuters miss the camaraderie of having office mates nearby (though many don’t miss it at all and relish the silence and freedom from constant small talk). Depending on which of these types of remote worker you are, you may find having a spouse around the house while you’re working to be a blessing or a curse.

Introverts who have enjoyed the peace and quiet of telecommuting and then suddenly have a spouse land a remote job as well may find it difficult to concentrate with someone else there, even (or perhaps especially) if it’s someone they like. But extroverts who have felt isolated working at home alone may find that having a second person around is the missing link that turns a poor-fitting career into the perfect one.