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Kathy Marshack News

How to Make Your Office Space Work When You and Your Partner Work from Home

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Find out how to meet the especially difficult challenge of setting up a functional shared work space that will allow you and your partner to succeed.Setting up a home office can be a time-consuming process. Of course, some people who work from home are content to set up their laptop at the kitchen table and call it good. But many of us who work from home want to make our workspace more professional and inspiring.

Do you work from home? Then you already know that setting up a great home office is hard enough to do when you are doing it for yourself alone. You spend time mapping out the space, purchasing the perfect office furniture, filling the walls with inspiring art, adding air-purifying plants, and finalizing the space with personal touches.

But what if you have to set up a home office for two?

This is a situation that many couples find themselves in. Whether you both start out working from home, or your situation evolves to where you both end up conducting your business at the house, it can be very difficult to set up a functional home office that will fit both parties.

What can you do to make the process easier? Here are a few ideas:

  • Define your workspace. Do you have two spare rooms that can be used as office space? Then separate your workspaces by room. If you don’t have the extra space, divide the one office into distinct areas. You many want to face your desks away from each other to minimize distractions and maintain privacy when making phone calls.

  • Evaluate your needs and preferences. Workspace needs and preferences can vary. One person may need more desk space either due to their type of work, or because they simply like to spread out. One of you may prefer to sit in a big cozy chair to work, while the other prefers a standard desk and office chair. Make your side of the room look and feel the way you want and need, and let your spouse do the same.

  • Create office hours. Sometimes it’s best for a couple to use the office alone. So set up office hours to share the space. One person gets to use it in the morning, and one in the afternoon. Perhaps the person not using the office can set up at the kitchen counter for a few hours, or whatever works for them.

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. The best thing you can do for your relationship in general, but especially when you are both sharing a workspace, is communicate openly and honestly. Discuss what you need, when you need it, and what ground rules should be followed. This also applies if you want to be able to spend time with your spouse during the day. You are, after all, working under the same roof. So why not take advantage of that? If you want to chat or go to lunch, and your spouse doesn’t have time, don’t be offended. Instead, make an appointment. Schedule time together.

  • Respect each other’s space. Treat your spouse’s workspace the way you want yours to be treated. Give them privacy while they work. Don’t try to talk to them while they’re on the phone, or write them notes while they’re working. Create boundaries and respect them.

  • Give each other the benefit of the doubt. There are going to be times when your spouse intrudes on your space, and vice versa. Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt, and try to not take it too seriously, unless it becomes a habit. Just as co-workers in a traditional office can get on each other’s nerves, you will likely have moments where you rub each other the wrong way. Have a sense of humor, see the best in your spouse, and move past small annoyances.

There are many other challenges that dual-career and dual-entrepreneur couples face. It can help to work with a therapist with years of experience helping couples succeed as they build their business and their lives together. Please contact my office in Jantzen Beach to set up an appointment. If your busy schedules don’t allow for in-person therapy, please consider online therapy. Or for more advice on this lifestyle pick up a copy of my book: Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home. I recently released the second edition and you can get the paperback or Kindle edition on Amazon.


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