After months of lockdown, most people are pretty familiar with social distancing and what it entails. But what about “spousal distancing”? There have been countless articles on how to work productively from home since the pandemic began but how do you do that while not losing it with your better half?
The latter has presented challenges for my future spouse and I but we’ve managed to adapt. Here’s what my experience has been so far and my tips for working from home alongside a loved one (especially when “home” doesn’t have separate working spaces).
I currently work in the staffing industry, which had been hit hard during the early stages of the pandemic as companies implemented hiring freezes due to budget constraints. While one area of my workload slowed down, that was soon replaced by a rush of long term care facilities looking to fill positions including registered nurses, registered practical nurses, and personal support workers
I found myself working between 80-90 hour work weeks, asking for healthcare heroes to help those in need and put themselves at an increased risk where COVID-19 is rampant and their peers are dying or walking out on their jobs.
On top of that, I’m juggling my full-time job with working towards a Certificate in Public Relations from The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University. As my colleagues and I rushed to complete final projects and write exams, I struggled to balance the needs of my peers in group projects with the realities of my personal life: adjusting to working from home with my partner and planning a wedding during a pandemic.
Needless to say, it was a very stressful situation all around.
Over the past few months, there was a major learning curve. Here’s what this experience has taught me about working from home in general, and more specifically, with your partner:
If you work in the same space as your significant other or loved ones, work it out together by:
- understanding each other’s needs and expectations about what you need to work from home successfully and set ground rules
- communicating your schedules to avoid overlapping meetings or interruptions
- setting an intention about your time off together: escape the workspace if possible or plan ways to have quality time together
Some broader lessons I’ve learned from working at home include:
- make the change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset by embracing challenges and using any setbacks as a springboard to become better and learn along the way
- social distancing does not mean social isolation: make a conscious effort to still connect with people in new ways, like video calls
- get some fresh air: whether it is a walk or sitting outside, there’s something about fresh air that’s simply, refreshing!
- take micro-breaks and set a firm sign-off time or else you risk experiencing burnout
Today’s “new normal” is constantly evolving as COVID-19 presents new and unique challenges to navigate through. Here we find ourselves isolated from co-workers, our friends, and our families trying to balance it all.
I am fortunate enough to still have a job during these times but balancing that alongside school and my personal life required a whole new level of resilience in how I respond, recover, and thrive.
These times are temporary and may be presenting difficulties, but ultimately it increases ownership and presents an opportunity for growth.
Have you had to adjust working from home with a spouse and/or a family? How are you managing the work-life balance? Leave us a comment below or reach out to us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meghan Daniels is a Senior Professional Recruiter at Insight Global, the third largest staffing services company in North America, and a student in the Certificate in Public Relations program at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.