Isn’t it great how you both get to work from home together? Look at you guys, climbing your career ladders while maintaining a flourishing relationship! But then… 9am rolls around.

Your neatly laid-out folders have been stacked higgledy-piggledy in a corner. Your charger’s gone walkabout. And… is that a wine stain on your laboriously handwritten notes from yesterday’s meeting?

Argh! Isn’t working from home together just the worst?

Before Covid, both partners working from home was fairly uncommon. Now it’s par for the course—yet some of its consequences have taken people off guard. As the clear demarcation betwixt work and home have melted away over the past two years, many couples have found themselves struggling to keep a grip on that hallowed work–life balance. Communication has broken down, household duties have grown unequal, and trivial annoyances have exploded into full-blown rows.

But of course, there are benefits and joys to be found when working from home together, if only you can get the basics under control. So today, let’s explore 5 ways to keep things civil and harmonious when you both work from home.

1) Strive for open communication

This is the single most important way to keep your relationship healthy, regardless of your respective work setups. You need to understand one another’s perspective—because no matter how long you’ve been together, you’re not mind readers!

  • Watch out for nonverbal cues. Most of what your partner is feeling will be conveyed through their face and body language.
  • Set a time to discuss serious topics. “This really isn’t a good time to look at our finances—I’ve got a meeting in half an hour. Let’s sit down after dinner and talk it through properly.”
  • Ask open-ended questions about how they actually feel, rather than simple yes–no questions.
  • Be unambiguous about what you need—and ask the same of them. Pussyfooting around the subject won’t get the two of you anywhere, and will only prolong and exacerbate whatever issue’s at hand.

2) Set aside an hour of quality time every day…

For lots of couples, working from home together can go one of two ways. You’re either on top of each other all day or you barely see one another, passing like ships in the night by the coffee machine. Whether it’s over a meal or just cuddling in bed, dedicating an hour a day to catching up with your partner is the perfect way to regroup, and remember all the lovely things you’ve missed about them these past 10 hours.

3) …but recognise when one of you needs space too

Since Covid struck, the average Brit has spent an extra 44 minutes a day with their household. That might not sound much, but it seriously adds up over the course of a week—never mind months on end! We all know someone who started noticing their partner’s idiosyncrasies only during lockdown. They were cute to begin with—their pathological inability to place their socks in (as opposed to next to) the laundry basket, their nightly battles with tightly scrunched-up tubes of toothpaste—but they soon wore thin.

Quality time isn’t necessarily spent only with your partner. Sometimes you just need to recharge alone. Only then can you be your best self, and return to the fold to give your partner the love and attention they deserve and desire. If you don’t get time to yourself to just chill, read a book, watch TV, garden, have a coffee—the minutiae of the day-to-day—you can’t always be present when your partner needs you for the bigger moments, like catching up over lunch or going for a walk together.

4) If possible, maintain separate workspaces

There’s nothing better than setting up your dream workspace at home, right? You’ve got your personalised coaster, your mini cactus, your wide open spaces just waiting to be filled with strategically placed documents, folders, photo frames.

…And then whaddayaknow—your partner starts working from home as well. And… you guys live in a one-bed. Begrudgingly you shove your stuff to one end of the desk while they plonk their own work paraphernalia down—zero regard for feng shui, of course! You eye their personalised coaster, their mini cactus. And you eye their wide open spaces—which they’re not even using!

Then you take the only action available in such dire straits: you seethe.

Breathe. Take a timeout, and have The Conversation. Even if your place isn’t particularly big, get creative. The benefits of maintaining separate workspaces are manyfold, and you’ll be thankful in the long run. No more shushing them when you jump on Zoom with your boss. No more getting told off because your headphones are distracting them. To the best of your ability, keep your work life separate. When you return to the realm of your home life, your relationship will be all the healthier for it.

5) Be patient

Whether Covid threw you guys together in this work-from-home setup or you both proactively pursued this lifestyle, you’ll face challenges at times—and you won’t have foreseen them all!

But remember: being on top of someone all day every day is enough to try anyone’s patience, regardless of whether you love them! Why? Because it’s not natural. You both need your own space, and to maintain your own little realms of work life, free to just do your thing unimpeded.

So if you can work in different parts of the house, ideal. But even if you can’t, by taking the above measures you’ll be on the way to getting on each other’s nerves less—and hopefully seeing all the upsides of spending so much time together! Trust me: find that balance—and every morning you’ll wake knowing today will bring fun, joy and laughter, all while progressing your careers and growing closer than you ever thought possible.

Maclynn (formerly Vida) is an elite, multi-award-winning international dating agency. We’re renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles, and our world-class matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and within our vast network of attractive, eligible singles we’ll find the one person you wouldn’t mind working at home full-time with!