If you work from home, you know how fortunate you are. And if your spouse, significant other, or roommate also works from home you are doubly lucky! Not only do you get to avoid the hassles of working from an office, but you get the benefit of having a “work buddy” there with you, alleviating the loneliness that can accompany being on your own all day, every day. Shared home offices will grow more and more common as many sectors of the workforce transition to telecommuting.
However, this arrangement has its own set of drawbacks if you’ll be sharing the same office. Here, we’ll identify some of the problems you may run into when sharing your home office space and we’ll also give you tips on overcoming those issues.
Space is at a Premium
With two of you occupying one office, it’s imperative that you maximize every square inch of space. Built-in shelving and modular desk components can give you storage and the flexibility to adjust your office arrangement as your needs change.
This is a big one… you both should enjoy the aesthetics of the room you’ll be spending so much time in. If one of you enjoys a sleek and modern look but the other prefers flowery prints or a vintage style, you’ll have some decorating kinks to work out as you establish your shared office.
Are you easily distracted, or do you perform work that requires intense concentration? If so, you might want to consider a room divider (this suggestion assumes that your office space is large enough to accommodate one). There are attractive dividers out there that fit with your own décor, so you won’t be left feeling like you’re working in the dreaded cubicle land.
Special Needs or Preferences
If one of you likes to work while listening to music and the other prefers total silence, you could run into some tense times. Or if one of you needs the television on for inspiration but the other is constantly on the phone with clients, headphones can be your best friends. Invest in a good set and you won’t regret it.
Pets and Visitors
You’ll also need to have a discussion whether pets or other “visitors” (children, additional housemates, etc) will be allowed into the office during your shared working time. This brings up another point – if you’re not able to agree on many of these key issues, you might want to consider using the office in shifts if your work schedule can accommodate that.
Both of you deserve a workspace that will contribute to your productivity and sense of well-being. Just as you would with any common living space, a shared office arrangement requires communication and courtesy to work effectively.