Anyone who works from home has to set up a workspace. Most of the time we hear about a work at home mom who needs her own work space, sometimes (less often) we hear about the work at home father who has his office tucked away in a spare room.
Today I heard about a married couple sharing a tiny work at home space and how they are trying to make it work. This article appeared in Marie Claire magazine. Here are a few excerpts from his and her perspectives.
Couples Working From Home Together? Yikes!
He said… Damn you, Don Draper. Damn you for your panther looks, your shimmering martinis, and your parade of bullet-bra-ed typists. But damn you most of all for that high-rise office, the 1960s Shangri-la that taunts me in every Mad Men episode. Wall-spanning windows. Oak-paneled walls. Danish modern furniture. Big as my whole apartment. This is what I’m reduced to in 2010: I covet another man’s work space.
For six months now, my wife and I, both writers, have been working at home together in our one-bedroom apartment. If the precariousness of this situation isn’t obvious, I refer you to the best film ever about shared domestic work space: The Shining.
There’s Jack Nicholson’s would-be author, self-exiled in an empty hotel. Typewriter clacking, he squints into the page—limning, seeking, probing, his mind finally edging up against that drifting, vaporous thought, when … “Hi, Hon!” chirps googly-eyed Shelley Duvall. “Get a lot written today?” The ax murders that follow are excessive, I grant you, but incomprehensible? I don’t judge.
She said… I cried when I got laid off from my job as a magazine editor last summer, but not because of economic worries or self-esteem issues. These concerns were dwarfed by the fact that I’d now be working at home, in an apartment the size of my childhood bedroom, alongside my husband of four years. God save us….
It Hasn’t Been All Bad
The funny thing is, while our 9-to-5 relationship is fraught, our after-hours bond has never been stronger. For a change of scenery, we’ve traded our Netflix-and-pizza routine for actual date nights. We go to the movies and Off-Broadway plays, dine at new (affordable) restaurants, and put in a surprising amount of “overtime” in the office’s adjoining bedroom.
In fact, it’s kind of like we’re having an affair: colleagues driven into each other’s arms by close proximity in a high-stress workplace. But as much as I like a good office romance, I’d prefer an actual office.
Apparently this couple discovered that not only can they work in close quarters together, the arrangement has actually improved their relationship in several ways. While not every couple could handle this amount of one-on -one time, there are lessons to be learned from every situation. Respect, cooperation, communication, creativity and patience will all be tested when couples are working from home together.