The coronavirus pandemic has upturned life for many of us. Social distancing and self-isolation are the new norms because one of the primary precautions taken to stop the spread of the virus is to limit large gatherings of people. Several workplaces now have made it both mandatory and optional for employees to work from home.

If you’re living with your partner, this may sound off some alarms in your head. As much we’d like to spend more time with our partners, working in their presence in a quasi-workplace setting isn’t exactly ideal. Mixing your work life and personal life can stir up tension and create rifts in your relationship.

However, now many of us are compelled to do it whether we like it or not. So, here’s what you can do to make the experience more comfortable for both of you.

Create Boundaries

Many of us tend to ignore our partners’ distracting behavior when we work. This is not a good idea, especially not when we have to work with them for possibly weeks or months on end. The next time your partner distracts you with a meme or a story about a co-worker while you’re replying to an email or finishing up an assignment, be direct about your concerns. Tell them you’d prefer they don’t distract you. Now is not the time to be passive-aggressive about this. Draw your boundaries for acceptable and unacceptable behavior during work hours.

Work in Different Rooms

One of the most effective ways to maintain boundaries and lessen distractions is to work in separate rooms. This is especially useful when both of you have video-conferences scheduled at the same time. Of course, one of you may get the shorter end of the stick with the choice of room, but considering we may be in this for the long haul, it’s okay to compromise to maintain comfort.

Structure Your Day Together

Planning your activities for the day, designating working hours and meal times, and setting goals, will not only help you get more done, but they will also keep you motivated to spend time with your partner during breaks.

If despite your best efforts, working from home with your partner is proving more stressful than expected, it may be helpful to iron out your problems with a professional relationship counselor.

Dr. David E. Myers is a  psychodynamic therapist based in Birmingham, AL. He has decades of experience in professional psychotherapy and specializes in relationship counseling.

Get in touch today. Call (202) 251-8808.

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