Workplace Wellness: How To Keep Relationships Healthy When Working From Home

5 ways to maintain work/life balance during lockdown.
  • Working from home has its benefits. But suddenly finding yourself confined to one space with your family or roommates may be challenging.
  • Now that your workplace and home are one and the same, it’s important to work on keeping your relationships healthy.
  • From setting boundaries and work schedules to creating ‘work free’ zones in your home, here are 5 ways to maintain work/life balance during lockdown.

Most of us are working from home now. You can blame COVID-19 for that. 

While working from home certainly has its fair share of benefits, suddenly finding yourself confined to one space with your significant other, children, or roommate may be challenging, if not downright impossible. 

Have you seen the memes about how many babies will be born nine months from now? How about those that say the rate of divorce may skyrocket? 

All jokes aside, these are both potentially real scenarios. 

Working from home (unless you live alone) can have a toll on your home relationships. There’s limited space, you don’t have time to unwind from office stress or disagreements, and you’re 24/7 with the same person. 

Suggested Reading: 8 Strategies to Keep Your Mental Health in Check When Working Remotely

It’s natural that you’ll want a break. 

But you can’t necessarily have one. 

So how do you keep your home relationships healthy while working remotely? 

5 Tips to Keep Your Home Relationships Healthy while Telecommuting

1. Set boundaries 

If both you and your significant other or roommate are working from home and there’s limited space, it’s crucial that you set some boundaries. Which is going to be your work area, which is going to be the other’s? 

The goal here is to have a space, even if just a corner, that you can call yours while you work from home. It’ll help those at home know when you are working and when you are not, it’ll give you some sort of privacy, and will prevent you from being unintentionally interrupted. 

2. Create a system

This is especially important if you have regular meetings or kids in the house. It’s about establishing some ground rules; it can be as simple as having a schedule during which it’s okay if your spouse or roommate needs to interrupt you, or more complex like having an item that shows when you cannot be interrupted, when you’re in a meeting, when you’re stressed, etc. 

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The goal here is to avoid unnecessary conflict that can arise from interruptions while someone is stressed, in a meeting, or simply working on something that requires a lot of focus. 

3. Take time to eat lunch together

While it may be tempting to eat lunch while you’re working, it’s important that  you take some time to sit down and eat lunch with those around you. 

Not only will it give you a much needed break from work, but it can also serve as the perfect opportunity to encourage communication and check in with those at home. Does anyone need help from you? Is there something you need to run by anyone? Maybe you’re late with an assignment and need some help cooking dinner that day. 

The goal here is to not lose a sense of connection with those around you. Just as you may eat lunch with coworkers when in the office, take some time to eat lunch with your new “coworkers” at home. 

4. Create an imaginary coworker

This idea originally came from writer and editor, Molly Tolsky, in a recent tweet:

“Pro-tip for couples suddenly working from home together,” tweeted Tolsky. “Get yourselves an imaginary coworker to blame things on. In our apartment, Cheryl keeps leaving her dirty water cups all over the place and we really don’t know what to do about her.”

Doing this will help maintain some semblance of work-life balance and can prevent arguments from escalating and creating resentment between couples, children, or roommates. 

5. Create a third-space to unwind from work

This doesn’t have to necessarily be a physical space, but the idea here is to give yourself some time before you switch from home activities to work activities. 

This is particularly important if you’ve had a stressful or bad work day. Those who normally commute have some time to unwind and destress before they get home and start working on dinner, laundry, or helping kids with homework. 

When you work from home, that time is taken away from you, which is why it’s important to create a space where you can slowly disconnect and switch your mind from work to home. This can be done by listening to some music, watching a quick episode of your favorite series, playing a game online, or simply browsing your favorite social media or website. 

The goal is to be able to leave work stuff and issues in your delimited work area so that you can properly focus on home activities and your significant other, family, or roommates. 

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