With the outbreak of Coronavirus affecting us all in one way or another, it’s a good time to look at how we can keep our sanity when living with other people and the importance of having space in a shared home.
For those of us that live with others or have moved back home and are sharing space with family or friends, it’s really useful to understand boundaries and how to set them. You might be spending a lot of time together if all of you are now working from home, so how can you make sure you don’t fall out over who’s working where or who gets to take their conference call in a certain room?
Agree on set rooms
When working from home, especially if there are a few of you in the house, you should decide where to set up base or which spots are allocated for a home-style hot-desking.
Just because you’re not in your usual office, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a nice desk space for yourself. This way, it means you all know who’s working where and know not to disturb them.
If possible, try to work in spaces where there won’t be many interruptions, as there may be in the kitchen where your family/flatmates will go throughout the day.
Share diaries to avoid interruption
To avoid that classic BBC interview where Prof Robert Kelly was interrupted live on air by his kids happening to you, consider sharing your diaries when calls and video chats might be taking place.
It’s also good to note that, if you are still all working, the day should still be classed as a working day, even though a lot of the country has shifted to home working, it’s still business as usual.
Make time for ‘time-outs’
Work can be stressful, and at times throughout the day you’ll find yourself taking breaks. It might be difficult to take a good enough break if there are others in the house too.
It could be a good idea to sit together and agree upon how you want to take breaks. This is also worthwhile as you can understand that at some times you might not want to talk about work and can agree on how you can say ‘I don’t want to talk about work right now’ in fewer words.
Plan time together and time apart
When you don’t live with someone, you would tend to plan the time that you spend together, and do what you want in your time apart.
It’s important that you still plan this time, or else you might become irritated with how much time you’re spending together. Plan to watch films, cook meals, or play games together, and in the other time remember to do what you want.
Talk about issues that arise
If you find that you’re getting along with this whole social distancing thing quite well, but still have a few teething problems, talk them through with whoever you’re living with.
Communication is key and you’re all in that situation together!
Have you found yourself staying in with your family, partner or flatmates during this outbreak? What’s been working for you for having space in a shared home? Leave a comment below to help others get by!
If you’d like to read more, you can learn about how to be more productive when working from home here.
For anyone that may find themselves spending more time with an abusive individual, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/