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In the best of times, it is challenging for couples to work at home together.

Finding personal space and focus while sharing a work environment with your partner is not easy and it can be distracting and lead to conflict. That’s in the best of times.

In a situation like ours with so much uncertainty and insecurity, the work-home environment can be heavy with tension and stress for partners under the same roof 24/7.

That being said, you can choose to survive this crisis with built-up anger and baggage in your relationship or with new ‘muscles’ for better communication and more kindness and giving to one another.  You can see it as suffocating or as a ‘workout’ to practice a more loving way of relating.

Wouldn’t you rather have a connection that is strong and close than fragile or broken when this crisis is behind us?

Here are some tips for the weeks ahead:

1 – Aim for zero negativity in your shared space – this includes anger, blame and judgement and even the subtler form of ‘constructive criticism’.

2 – Look for opportunities to see the good in your partner – give the benefit of the doubt, show gratitude and appreciation as often as you can.

3 – Speak openly about what each of you needs to work effectively – for example, complete quiet, air conditioning or heat, music in the background, no interruptions.

4 – Set clear working hours and schedule  – decide together when the work day begins and ends and when you are taking breaks.

5 – Create boundaries – carve out separate work areas (with no criticism of her clutter or his super neatness), take separate breaks; use headphones for your music, podcasts or meetings; try not to distract or use your partner to vent frustrations; leave your personal and family issues for after work hours.

6  – Appreciate this unusual working arrangement as an opportunity to get closer  – schedule time for your partner to be a sounding board for your new ideas, take a break together; do little things to make your partner’s work day a little brighter (leave a cute note, bring her favorite snack).

7 –  Keep your romance and intimacy alive –  even though you’re sharing the same space all day, make plans for date night, spend time together in the evening talking about your day and dreaming about your future beyond this difficult time.

Let me know how you co-exist with you and your partner working at home.  I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions.

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