Liz Reyer: Your Partner Is Starting To Work From Home. Here’s How To Cope

By Liz Reyer
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Business coach Liz Reyer offers some tips for sharing a home life and work-space with your partner.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Q: My partner will soon begin working from home full time. How do we make this transition successful for both of us?
Ann, 47, nurse

A: Every aspect of life is affected in a transition like this, so discuss and plan for as much as you can in advance.

Let’s look at a few different scenarios. If you’re currently home a lot, this will disrupt your routine. It may be for the better, but the increased togetherness does require adaptation.

Or perhaps you both now work outside the home. Having one person working from home can provide a temptation for them to become the errand person.

If you have kids, this can become especially problematic, as the home-based person can slide into covering days off school, doctor visits, etc.

This isn’t fair to the person working from home. As it is generally an unintentional slide into imbalance, it’s best to set ground rules.

Find a way to share responsibility so that perceived convenience doesn’t go too far.

Same with chores. Just because a person works from home doesn’t mean they should necessarily be tossing clothes in the wash or emptying the dishwasher during the day.

Another risk is having the office take over the home. To the extent possible, set up a space where your partner can work. He or she can then leave the “office” behind and have some physical separation.

Setting clear work hours will also help. A flex time model may make sense, depending on his or her employer’s expectation. It will also help with the boundary issues; it’s easier to protect designated work time.

One challenge many people face when working from home is the decrease in social interaction. Electronic connection only goes so far, and you may find that your partner turns to you more for interaction needs. This could be very draining for you, especially if you come home and need downtime.

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