By Josh Baez, Client Engagement Manager at Heinz Marketing
As you’ve read in countless other blog posts across the internet: we live in a hugely unprecedented and unpredictable time. Behaviors have changed, routines have changed, entire ways of doing business have changed. And as people continue to spend more time working at home, it can be challenging to share your makeshift workspace with a new kind of coworker: your partner.
As we come up on week I-can’t-even-count-the-days-anymore, I know my partner and I have had to make a few compromises in order to find our work-life balance in our 800-square foot apartment. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t also had some truly novel sparks of inspiration either. And while none of these tips may read entirely new, they’re surely worth giving a try if you haven’t done so already.
So, without further ado, here are 10 tips to effectively, productively, and lovingly quarantine and work remotely with your partner.
1. Designate a workspace
This should come as no surprise, but it’s highly important to designate a workspace with your partner. For us, this happens to be our dining table. Here, we’re lucky enough to each have a laptop as well as a second monitor. We’ve also fit two office chairs and some laptop stands to help our posture when working longer hours. And, our space is situated beside a window, so we’re also able to soak up the springtime Seattle sun and have some natural light to keep us motivated and productive into the afternoons.
All this put together helps make our dining area feel more “office-like” and conducive for getting work done, while also being an area that is comfortable and pleasant to be in for hours at a time. It also means that the rest of our apartment is a strict no-work zone, allowing us to keep our work at “work” and our work-life balance in check.
If you don’t already have a designated workspace, it’s probably time you think about setting one up. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy—it just needs to be a place that you know is solely reserved for work.
2. Use headphones
Just like at the office, be courteous of your coworker/partner and use headphones when you can. Whether they be for listening to music, taking calls, or watching the occasional video on your downtime, consider your partner’s productivity (and sanity) and help reduce distractions and roadblocks during their work day.
3. Coordinate your schedules
Something my partner and I started doing more frequently is asking the other what their schedule looks like when we start the day. This helps us become aware of meetings we have planned, projects we’re working on, or time we need to simply put our heads down and check-off our to-do lists. This also helps reduce friction later in the day if we have conflicting meetings and one of us needs to go to a different room to talk or if we’re in the middle of a task and need a distraction-free hour or two.
4. Plan activities
Spending your days at home can quickly become monotonous, and that monotony can easily start to impact your mental health, behavior, and demeanour towards your partner, your coworkers, and your work. To help alleviate the tension, plan activities with your partner so you both have things to look forward to during the week.
Go on a walk, play a game, tackle a project, watch a movie, make a new recipe. Do what you can to break up the typical day-to-day grind and intersperse some activities that you and your partner both enjoy into your afternoons and evenings.
5. Stay active
I’ll be honest: staying active 1) at home and 2) without a gym is tough. It’s hard to not have the same equipment and resources that you’re used to in order to do your typical workout. But such is life, and that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives.
For those of you who are lucky enough to have workout equipment, well done. For the rest of us, it’s all about body weight, abs, and cardio. Joy. (Just be sure to follow social distancing guidelines if you go outside!)
Regardless of your situation, staying active during the day can do a lot for your body. And forcing it on your partner is just another way to say you care! Plus, you’ll sleep better at night, feel more energized and motivated in the morning, and you’ll be sure to impress all your coworkers at your next Zoom meeting. (Results may vary.)
6. Pursue your hobbies
Right now is a great time to pursue your hobbies, especially if you and your partner feel the need for some breathing room. You could practice your art skills, pick up knitting, channel your inner writer, or finally learn that guitar that’s been tucked away in your closet. Right now may be a scary time, but it’s also an exciting time to be creative. And with tons of free resources online, it’s easier than ever to get started.
7. Catch up on a show you both like
The only reason this bullet is standalone is so I can give a shout-out to Survivor on Hulu for being there for me and my partner in this time of need.
To answer your burning questions:
- Yes, we’ve binge watched since Season 1
- We started watching around the start of quarantine
- We just finished Season 15
- Palau (10) is the best season we’ve seen
8. Ask for alone time
Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for alone time. Let’s be honest: you likely haven’t spent this much uninterrupted time with your partner in a long time (if ever). If you need an evening to do your own thing, don’t be afraid to ask. For us, that means I play video games with headphones on while she does a crossword or two beside me.
Chances are, if you’re feeling it, they’re probably feeling the same.
9. Don’t be afraid to veg out
Honestly, what more is there to say about this one? While you still might feel pressured to “have plans” come the weekend, the truth is, no one has plans. No one’s going out. And you shouldn’t feel bad or unproductive or guilty for spending a Saturday in quarantine watching movies, eating popcorn, and doing absolutely nothing else.
Some movie recommendations based on recent watches: Destination Wedding, Midsommar, Avengers Infinity War and Endgame.
10. Be gracious and generous
The last, but also most important tip on this list: Be gracious and generous with your partner. This is a challenging time, and different people react to crises in different ways. So make sure that you’re there for your partner when they need you.
Be generous with your time and energy towards them—offer to make the grocery run, take the trash out, empty the dishwasher, cook dinner. And be gracious in how you speak and act.
The important thing to remember is that we’re all in this together. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. And as we continue to stay home and stay socially distant, just because we’re not physically connected, doesn’t mean that we’re alone.
How have you been working remotely? Are there any tips you have that I didn’t list above? If so, please leave a comment below!