Working Remotely With Your Significant Other
For almost a year, my partner, Andrew, and I have both worked from home full time for the same company. We got a bit of a jump start on this new found reality for many, spending 24/7 with each other. It can be a fun, but sometimes jarring, transition for a lot of people. So we thought we would put together the lessons we've learned along the way.
Disclaimer: we don't have children and realize that adds a whole other layer (or seven) when you're working from home. So if you have children, we think that SOME of these can be helpful but also just know that we only have a dog.
Empathetic Communication is Key
We learned that it was important to set our expectations and intentions for the week on Sundays, together. We took a term from Brene Brown, and now have our CTJ, or 'Come To Jesus' meeting time every Sunday (this is also doubly effective if you're about to go on a trip/vacation/visit family for the holidays). Every Sunday, we set aside a few hours to spend some time together and talk about our coming weeks, and what we need from each other and need for ourselves.
During this time, we talk about our upcoming work schedules, and how much focus we'll need for key activities on certain days. We also plan when we're going to spend quality time together, and when we'll both get alone time (which turned out to be incredibly important for us as Andrew is introverted and needs recovery alone time, whereas I'm more extroverted and need to spend time with other people). Getting all of our expectations out on the table helps us to move forward each week without worrying about the other person, because we've already agreed on our collective plan.
Know Their Flow
A key part of working from home together is to understand your partner's flow state. Based on your CTJ, you know how much they have on their plate this week and how much focus they need to get it done. So it is important to respect their focus. If you have a break in your day, it doesn't mean they have a break in theirs, and vice versa. Be respectful of their process and how they work.
Minimize Interactions Throughout The Day
I'm not saying you have to ignore your partner, I'm just saying it's so much nicer to spend quality, uninterrupted time together after work than small, distracted snippets during the day. Getting coffee? Going to the bathroom? Don't make every second a time where you have to interact, save some juice for later on so you can have more robust conversations and feel more connected to each other.
Establish Responsibilities Beforehand
If you have a dog or any other responsibilities, create a schedule for who is taking care of what during your CTJ. For example, I take Kayda out in the morning, and feed/water her up, and Andrew does the afternoon walk. Then we take a walk together at the end of the day. We both know our role and what we need to do, and because of that, we don't have to expend energy thinking about it during our work days. Of course, there are days when one or both of us are slammed with meetings, so make sure to communicate early in the day or during your CTJ that on X day, you may need to switch walk times or rely on your partner altogether.
We hope these few tips are helpful for you and your partner to work together for the foreseeable future. We've found that the lessons we laid out above have helped us to have better communication overall in our relationship and deepen the quality time we do spend together. We hope you're all safe and sound out there!