I admire couples that can work from home together and not strangle each other by the end of the day. It’s not that I’m unreasonable, bitchy or territorial (at least not all of the time), but there’s no way I could stand to share an office with a spouse. Period.
Part of the reason is that I’m from a family of five kids which makes me want my own space, my own supplies and as much privacy as possible. I like working by myself in a quiet home office.
The other part is that too much of a good thing can be bad. You may adore your spouse, but if you spend every day and night with him or her, you may drain the fun out of your business and your relationship.
If you’re still willing to work with your spouse, there are a few ways to keep the peace so no one considers hiring a hit man by the end of the day.
Buy duplicate supplies.
No one likes to reach for a stapler and realize it’s on someone else’s desk or in another room. Get creative and buy two sets of office supplies in different colors. While you’re buying extra supplies for your spouse, pick up more sets for the rest of your family.
Use separate equipment.
There’s nothing wrong with cutting costs, but sharing a computer will cost you more than money. It can affect your working relationship, and more importantly, your productivity. Whether you use a desktop and your spouse uses a laptop, each of you should have your own equipment. If one of you prints more often than the other, you may want to have two printers. Otherwise, share one.
Leave the room when you need to take a call.
Unless you can talk quietly and not bother your spouse while he or she is in the office, leave the room during a call. Another option is to use a headset and of course, talk quieter. It’s a good idea to leave your desk throughout the day anyway, so why not leave during a call?
Use separate workspaces.
Whether you use two desks, or install a long counter with enough room for two people to work, keep your workspaces separate. This is especially true if you have two different working styles. Someone who is a packrat will drive a perfectionist crazy with piles of paper, cups of coffee and the leftovers from his or her last snack. The perfectionist will do the same thing by complaining about the mess and throwing things away without asking.
Compromise on the temperature.
You may like the office to be as cold as a meat locker, but not everyone likes to wear three sweaters, a hat, and gloves to work. Consider using a fan for your side of the room and keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature.
Working with a spouse can be the perfect arrangement for some couples and a recipe for disaster for others. In fact, I’m a firm believer in everyone working together, but not always in the same space.