How to Share Office Space When Working Remotely

Sharing Office Space When Working Remotely

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This is truly an unprecedented time. As COVID-19 spreads through the country, more and more U.S. citizens are being told to stay home except to pick up groceries, go to doctor appointments, or exercise. With stay-at-home directives currently active in at least 42 states, we’re all attempting to do our part to flatten the curve, and hey — thank you! With this new normal comes many new challenges and anxieties, such as increased unemployment, the need to homeschool children, and an uncertain economy. Fortunately, we at HiringThing are uniquely qualified to assist in one area. HiringThing, a 100 percent remote software company from our founding, knows how to navigate obstacles when it comes to working from home. Today, let’s cover one big issue: working from home with other people.

Set boundaries

If you’re working from home with a partner, family members, or roommates, the first thing you will notice is that your home seems much smaller than it used to — you’re not alone. Not only has your living space suddenly merged with your working space, but you’re stuck inside and unable to take a reprieve by working at a coffee shop or library. Inevitably, we’ll all experience some irritation, especially given our world’s current upheaval. How can you work in close quarters without allowing your relationships to suffer?

First, look at your individual schedules. Is one person on the phone with customers or clients? Is one person doing a lot of video meetings? Or do several people in the house need quiet time and space for calls and meetings? Determine how often each of you will need privacy or space, then determine where each person’s main workspace should be located. Look at your home’s setup. If you’re lucky enough to have a designated office, can multiple people work there? Maybe your kitchen table will get the job done, or maybe you can set up a small desk or table in a bedroom.

Once you’ve decided where you’ll work, consider what tools you’ll need. Listening to music through headphones can minimize outside distractions while lifting your mood. A headset with a microphone is vital for conducting calls and meetings in a shared space. If you don’t have access to a headset and you’re sharing a workspace, you might set up a specific area for taking calls. Also, don’t underestimate the power of working outside. If your Wi-Fi is strong enough, sitting on a front porch or back patio is a great way to accomplish your work while physically spacing yourself from those you live with (no matter how much you love them).

Don’t neglect chores

Since you’re spending nearly all your time in your home, make sure you’re working in a pleasant environment. Nothing increases tension and conflict like a dirty, cluttered space. In fact, a clean and organized home has proven psychological benefits like increased energy and reduced anxiety. No matter how your household previously tackled chores, consider revisiting your approach during this stressful time. Outline the chores that need to be completed on a daily and weekly basis to help you and your household feel calm and happy. Then account for new schedules, workloads, and workflows and find the best way to divide the chores. If you work earlier, maybe your partner or roommate can do the breakfast dishes and you can make dinner. Also consider using work breaks to keep ahead of chores. It takes no more than five or ten minutes to throw in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher, but these tasks can do a lot to help you stay on top of things.

Don’t forget to account for our constantly changing mental outlook. If your household is struggling, your chore list might be small, but even just putting away your clothes, doing dishes daily, and taking the dog for a walk can help you feel productive and in control. If your partner or roommate is feeling especially depressed or sad one day, consider doing his or her chores to provide him or her extra time to work through feelings. In this volatile environment, small acts that show others you care can make a big difference. We’re all rooting for you!

Be compassionate

In this challenging time, it’s natural to experience grief, anger, and depression. Be patient and flexible with yourself and those you’re living with. Extending compassion to those around us is the best way to get through this situation. Seek tools that provide calm and perspective, like online therapy, yoga, or meditation. Going outside for a brisk walk or jog is also an excellent option. Exercise is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety while improving concentration and cognitive function. When all else fails, take a break, order in some comfort food, and binge watch your favorite new show. Please, for the sake of all our sanity, share your recommendations with us.

About HiringThing

HiringThing is a 100 percent remote software company. Since 2012, we’ve created our own virtual work environment with unique style and values. We love how we work, and we want you to love working remotely, too. Read our Remote Work Manifesto to learn more about our approach or check out our Remote Work Hub for great tips and resources.

Author: Ashley Ellingson

Ashley Ellingson is a marketing content writer at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.

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