How to Prevent Hybrid Working From Destroying Your Relationship

Because, unfortunately, you’re part-time co-workers now

Stephen Moore

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Photo: Pexels

When the pandemic forced us indoors, my wife and I lived in a one-bedroom, open-plan apartment. While it was the perfect place to come home to after a long day at the office, it was never meant to also function as a shared office as we went into quarantine.

For couples who were used to kissing each other goodbye in the morning and not reuniting again until dinnertime, living and working together at home became a minefield. Work habits and personas were suddenly on full display every day; I discovered my wife is a loud typer. She discovered I’m restless as hell (or as she laments, I’m a “rustler”). There were logistical issues, too, like Zoom call schedule clashes or how to divvy up chores when it seemed like everything got messier more quickly.

Most of us stumbled through this period, surviving on the hope that things would soon be “back to normal.” But now, that normal is the “new normal” of hybrid working, and it leaves couples facing many of the same issues going forward. My wife and I are still sharing our home 2–3 days a week (though we did move to a bigger one), and we’ve implemented some steps to help us.

Here are some ways to adjust to your new normal together.

Schedule timeouts

Throughout our relationship, my wife and I have never spent all of our time together. We have different jobs and different friend circles. So now that we’re in the same space more often, it’s been vital that we still make time to do our own thing.

So we schedule timeouts, little blocks of time during the day, to enjoy our own separate interests. I might sit and listen to a podcast while she watches TV. Or she might go out to the garden for some fresh air while I sit and play the guitar. Make time for your own hobbies and delights, and put that time on the calendar to make sure you stick to it.

Plan (and agree upon) a daily routine

If you can’t arrange to work from home on separate days, you have to try and sync your routines. Having a sense of predictability in times of upheaval will help reduce your stress…

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