Whether you're traveling the world or just working remotely from home, nothing quite matches the joy of being able to work alongside your partner from day to day (for some people at least). Let me warn you in advance though, it might not always be easy, but it's so rewarding and beautiful to be able to comfortably work with your partner when it's done correctly. Because so many of you have asked how do we keep our relationships strong while working together, we thought it would be a great idea to put a few pieces of advice into a blog to share with you guys about what works for us.
Have a dedicated workspace
First things first, if you're new to working with your partner, you're going to want to find some work-appropriate space wherever you're both living. If not, you can quickly end up feeling like you don’t have personal space. To point out the basics, you don't want your laptops banging together, tangled charging cables, fighting over plug sockets, or disturbances while one of you is on a call. Now, I'm not suggesting separate rooms, but if that's what you find works for the both of you, then go for it. A room with a large enough desk to support the two of you or somewhere you can both be in the same room, but work from two different areas will do just as well too.
Having a bit of space can help you both get your heads down and get work done. Having a dedicated workspace is a great reminder to our brains that we've started work. Although there's nothing wrong with having a chat with each other or taking a break to get something cleaned up in your living space, you'll want to keep all distractions to a minimum. Otherwise, you could slip into your usual daily habits and routines, whether that's sitting and watching some TV or doing some home chores together while chatting about life. Check out a few productivity hacks for people who work remotely for more tips on getting the most out of your time.
Make sure both of you keep your space clean, and I mean both of you! You've both got a workload to get through, and you've both got to work in this space. This is the best way to avoid petty squabbles about cleaning your area. A tidy room is a tidy mind. Sharing a workspace with your partner will be easier if you both have peace of mind knowing that your space is clean. No mess bothering you out of the corner of your eye when you're in the middle of a call might not seem like a big deal now, but trust me, a few weeks down the line, you might not be so calm about it. 😅
Embrace the magic of kindness
When it comes to creating a healthy work-life balance when you work remotely with your partner, kindness is key. It sounds obvious, right? Be kind to each other when you're working alongside each other. But who are the people we take for granted the most? Who can be the most annoying? Who are the people that can hurt us the most? Yep, the person you’re closest to. So yeah, it is obvious, but we often forget how far a little bit of kindness can go.
Small acts of kindness are more than enough to keep a healthy work environment with your partner going strong. Nothing big, just a tiny "how's your day going?" and a "would you like me to get you anything?" will go far. If you both practice this, it will become habitual. Offering to make each other lunch on those hard days when the work never seems to end will be really appreciated by both of you when those stress levels creep above their average level.
It's also often said that forgiveness is a divine quality. And let's not forget that as fantastic as all of you are, nobody is perfect. We sometimes say stupid things, get in the way of each other or argue to win and not to resolve. Each apology and act of forgiveness is a chance for you both to grow and become closer in the process.
Listen and help where you can
One of the beautiful things about working with a loved one is that you get to help them and give some advice here and there. This can bring you closer to one another, and you can often find your partner has a few tricks they can teach you and vice versa. Two brains are better than one, right?
At the same time, you don't want to be offering advice if they only want you to listen to them. Sometimes people want a little rant or to get something off their chest. Jumping straight in with advice can remove a small part of their agency with a problem. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Jake and I practice listening first, ask a few questions to gauge the vibe, and then when it's clear that they want some advice, we say what we think. If it's not clear if your partner needs a helping hand and you are getting mixed signals, just ask. You know each other better than anyone, and you'll know what they need. 😁
Make time for romance
Working remotely and with your partner is a very unique and relatively new concept. Think about it for a second. You're not in the office, you're working alongside the one you love, and there aren't really any rules. What can sometimes happen if we're not careful is that our living space can, by default, become just a workspace. Or, even worse, an office! No hugs or kisses are allowed in the office! This can become the unwritten rule in your living space if you don't make time for romance while working alongside your partner.
However, this trap is one not everyone will fall into. Although during a busy work week, romance can fall by the wayside, and being humans, we can get tired pretty easily. So don’t shy away from showing a little affection throughout, and let each other know how much you love them. Not in a way that prevents you from getting through your work - you'll need to find a balance.
Find some time for a date night at least once a week. Sometimes when you can be away from your work and talk about the fun stuff you're both into. Find some time to let your hair down and be silly with each other. After all, smiling is good for the brain. Doing this will also help you both get a good break away from work where you can relax with the person closest to you in the world. So you can both go back to your work rejuvenated.
Plan your days together
Even though you're working together, your days might look completely different. So you should fill each other in on what you're both doing before you start your day's work. Maybe you have a Zoom call in the morning, and your partner has a few in the afternoon, or perhaps you have two different Zoom calls simultaneously. Either way, if you both know what is going on in each other's workday, you'll be able to avoid disturbing each other and asking embarrassing questions to your partner while they're on a call. 😅
Planning your days together will allow you both to know how long each other is working, when they can have lunch and when you can both enjoy your time away from work. With a bit of careful planning, you can look forward to your day knowing, for example, that "you have a meeting at 10 am and I have one at 2 pm, so you use the desk first, so you get the best light, and after lunch, I'll use it in the afternoon for my call. We both finished a bit earlier today, so while we clean up, tell me why you never want to go back to that restaurant we went to last week, and then we'll pick a different one for tonight."
Working with your significant other can be the best day at work, every day. You're with the one you love, so what's not to love? Your journeys through life have brought you both to each other, and now there's a journey for you both to continue on together.
It’s unique, for sure… but that’s what makes it beautiful! Look at your friends, for example. How many of them would even think of working with their partner? 😆 Being able to do so effectively is a real credit to your relationship and shows a true commitment to the success of your relationship.
I hope these five pointers are as useful to you and your partner as they are for us. Whether you’re working together in your home or on the road, these reminders should help you.