Buildstack and Mayven have always had distributed teams, so working remotely is nothing new for me or our teams. My wife, however, started working from home in March, when the shelter-in-place orders were issued. Now, it’s a whole new world – literally, and the landscape of our home had to change to accommodate two humans being home all day.

The 24/7 togetherness is highlighted by the fact that neither of us can escape for a while. Before the pandemic, if I needed a change of scenery, I would head to a coffee shop to hang out and work. It’s not that simple now. Sure, we can head outside to a park, but that’s not really conducive to productivity.

The main culprit in almost anyone’s work-from-home woes is a distraction. When two people work from home, the distraction is amplified to almost comic proportions. The competing phone and video calls, clingy kids and/or pets, and ALL the snacking. Seriously. When one person snacks, so do the other. And don’t get me started on the cleaning. You know what I’m talking about…you’re staring at an inbox full of unanswered emails when a spot on the carpet catches your attention. You think, “I’ll answer these after I vacuum.” Next thing you know, you’re kneeling on the floor, cleaning the baseboards with a cotton swab. 


The struggle is real. So how do you cope?


Reevaluate Your Space

Separate home offices are a great idea if you have space. If, however, you live in a small space or have other people living with you, this may not be realistic. In this case, the best workaround is to create one designated workspace, then coordinate calendars to block times for each of you to use it. Schedule calls and other important tasks during these blocks, and make sure you’re each respectful of the other’s time.


Have a Daily Check-In

You live together, so talking to each other should be a no brainer, right? Anyone? Anyone? Wrong…we still need to make time to check in about everything, not just the day-to-day-we-need-toilet-paper stuff. Take a break – away from your computer – to cook and eat lunch together. Or try to finish work and unplug at the same time every evening to take a walk around the block together. This one might be a little tough if you both have teams distributed across different time zones, so quitting time might vary from day to day.


Stay in Touch

Our regular social life revolved around our wide and varied group of friends. Until things get back to a semi-normal state, we only have each other to hang out with. We all love our partners, but we need to make time for friends and coworkers. This is especially important if you were used to being in an office setting. Make time for coffee, happy hour, or meals with friends via video. You might be surprised at how much you actually crave non-work conversations with other people.


Get To Know Each Other’s Work

I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what my wife used to do at the office. Sure I knew it was related to researching and international growth teams, but I never really understood much. So working side by side with her every day allowed me to have a much better understanding of her routine, her struggles, and what exactly is it that she does. And, of course, it goes the other way around: she never seemed to get exactly what my job was, and now she’s clearly more enlightened about what I do. As a result, we felt even more connected, and conversations that weren’t there before started to come up with much more details, engagement, and understanding from both sides.

I know you’ve heard this a million times already, but things will get better all around. You’ll find the best routine for your life, and someday, maybe you’ll be able to work away from home again. In the meantime, hang in there…and don’t forget to hit the mute button to avoid sharing the embarrassing moments that inevitably happen when working from home.