My husband has been working from home basically as long as I’ve been. We are lucky – we have big enough house and a yard to escape from each other. We also don’t have any children living at home, so we can spread out or be together depending on mood (mostly mine, admittedly).
When we’re “at work,” he takes our office on the ground floor of our split level and I take the kitchen with my laptop. We can close the door and both be on Zoom or Google Meets without disrupting each other.
But he’s in the office. Where I keep my desktop computer. And my text books. And various other miscellany I occassionally need to reference while I’m working. So there are times when I need to go into “his” space during the work day. And I’m in the kitchen. Where we keep the food. So he’s in “my” space now and again also.
We’ve developed a certain Zoom etiquette with each other over the past few weeks.
- We aim our cameras away from the other person when we’re on a video call. If I’m not dressed for success, I don’t want to be in his business. And I certainly don’t want my 12 year olds having any extra distraction than usual.
- We’re silent if the other person is on a call. He doesn’t interrupt me to ask if I know where the mayo is, and I don’t ask him to proofread an email.
- We discuss our schedules. I know when there’s something critical in his life and he knows when I’m on with administration or students. If one of us is on a video call with coworkers, the other might pop in to say hi, but I stay away when he’s with clients and he stays away when I’m with students or administrators.
- When the work day begins, it begins. I often say “Have a nice day” when he leaves the kitchen. He usually laughs and says “Drive carefully” or something equally eye-roll-inducing.
- When the work day ends, it ends. We leave the computers and phones behind and try to emotionally distance ourselves from work, even though we can’t physically distance ourselves.
How do you maintain your relationship while working at home?