Anna Schäfer Edwards, M.S., M.B.A.

Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern

11011 Sheridan Street, # 211
Cooper City FL 33026

Working from home: how it can impact your relationship

Working from home
The work environment is changing.  More professionals are working from home than ever before and are spending more time with their partners.  How can this very convenient benefit become a problem and impact your relationship?

Imagine you have changed jobs for one that allows you to work remotely or you negotiated a remote schedule.  You already have a stay-at-home partner or this person works from home.  You used to see your partner in the evening and now you see your partner the whole day.

Benefits to your relationship

You are now spending more time together, saving money with commuting, tires, tolls, clothing and eating out for lunch.  You eat together more often, are more relaxed at your own home, and have more control over your hours… (ok, maybe not).

It’s now possible to manage some aspects of life at home, even getting that Prime package the moment it arrives!   You have more freedom to work in your pajamas as you don’t have someone looking over your shoulders and you (assume) that your work is being judged by its quality and productivity versus how many hours you spend in the office.

It feels so good to be close to your spouse but somehow this is not entirely a positive experience.  If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Downside

Your partner sees you at home so s(he) interrupts you constantly.  You are trying to listen into a conference call and you’re not speaking.  They think you are available all the time and you start losing your patience. You argue over small things.

At the office you were in an enclosed office or people normally did not disturb you.  As an individual contributor, you spent most of your time alone.  Now, you have someone coming in and out, the dog barks, they talk on the phone, they turn on the TV or the juicer.

Even though it’s convenient to be closer to your home, you may start getting too involved in home management.  You can get too wrapped up in the details involving what needs to be done around the house when before you would only get involved towards the evening or during the weekend.  It doesn’t work so well anymore.

What can you do?

Set boundaries.  Let your partner know that you need time alone and set a place in your house where you can mimic your work environment.  Explain that although working from home is convenient, it is also very disruptive.  Ask your partner for understanding and empathy and tell them that this is not personal against them.

Plan ahead.  Reduce anxiety levels by planning your day around the house the same way you would plan your day around your outlook calendar.  Have time to start, to break and to end the day.  It is true that people tend to work longer hours when they are at home for one main reason: a guilty feeling of being allowed so much freedom that they overcompensate.

But times are changing.  It is now more and more normal for such work arrangements to exist.  We need to adapt to this new lifestyle so we can remain competitive and sane.  We need to make sure our personal relationships can adapt to this new lifestyle as well.

If you are struggling to keep a work-life balance and would like to talk to me about strategies, contact me for a free 15 minute consultation.