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How to work from home in a shared living space

For many young professionals, the reality of working from home often means working in a shared living space with other people, all of whom have their own work schedules and responsibilities. 

So, how can you maintain domestic bliss when you’re sharing a limited space? Here’s our top tips:

Establish the ground rules

It’s a good idea to establish some rules for working alongside cohabitants. You might consider making decisions on:

  • Which areas can be used for what kind of work — for example, you might agree that the area with the best internet connection or phone signal is designated for important calls and videoconferences, or that all phone calls need to be made in your respective bedrooms so as not to disturb others.
  • Assigning domestic duties — normally, household chores and cooking may be done by whomever is available, but while everyone is confined indoors, it’s important to share the responsibility and ensure that no one person is burdened with keeping the house in order.
     

Have a morning round-up

You might choose to have a morning round-up with your cohabitants, especially if there are many of you. During the round-up, you can discuss your daily schedules, including any important calls or videoconferences during which you need quiet, or any pressing deadlines that mean you don’t want to be disturbed. Try building a simple household planner using coloured sticky notes to categorise different activities and avoid any conflicts. 

Be a considerate cohabitant

It may seem simple enough, but when people are suddenly forced to spend a great deal of time together, tensions can easily rise and conflicts may erupt from even the smallest annoyance. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be considerate of those you live with — don’t hog the communal spaces, clean up after yourself (and clean yourself!), and try to keep unnecessary noise to a minimum during the workday. While you’re at it, if you’re making a cup of tea, why not get a round in?

Enjoy the company

At a time when many are feeling shut off and disconnected, one benefit for those in shared living spaces is the access to regular interaction with other people. Take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy one another’s company — use the long evenings to make meals together and socialise or play games. This not only strengthens the bonds of friendship, but creates a positive mood in your home that will last throughout the workday as well.

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