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When you have multiple roommates that work from home, it can make sharing expenses and space more complicated. You may also struggle with inviting guests over, scheduling meetings, or maintaining your productivity.
Although working from home affords many benefits, including increased performance and business continuity, you need to overcome a few obstacles first.
Top 5 Working From Home With Roommates Tips
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1. Build a Permanent Work Space
While working at home, it can be difficult to get into the “working mood.” Ideally, everyone will have their own room that’s solely used for work, like their bedroom, but it’s more likely that your rooms are too small to fit a desk, office equipment, and a computer even in the short-term.
If everyone in the household knows that they’ll work from home for an extended period, you can either convert a guest bedroom to an office or create a designated workspace. For example, you can turn a part of your living room into a mock office that includes your work necessities.
2. Establish a “No Party” Zone
During your designated work hours, you need to eliminate distractions as much as possible. If everyone decides to work from 9 am to 5 pm, no one is allowed to invite guests over, play loud music, or watch television. You need to create a no-party zone to protect your workday.
If you have roommates, you can create a separate contract that talks about the details of the no-party zone, including where they can entertain (aka, away from the “office”) after work hours.
3. Set Meeting Times
Even if you don’t work in the same room, there’s a big possibility that meeting participants will hear your roommate in the other room. That’s why it’s important to schedule meeting times amongst the people in your home, so everyone knows when they can’t speak to a client.
Headphones will help cut down on the noise, but it’s better if everyone stays out of each other's way. In a shared space, your workmates could even schedule a break during this time, agree to not speak to each other, or do something other than typing during that short 30-minute window.
4. Take Scheduled Breaks
There’s nothing more annoying than watching your co-workers leave for a break when you’re stuck there in your chair, working away. Besides bathroom visits, all breaks should be scheduled with your housemates. Not only will this limit distractions, but it will also encourage socialization.
We recommend placing a timer somewhere in your shared office that goes off once you hit break time. That way, you don’t have to constantly watch the clock or tell your housemates.
5. Create a Reward System
With your housemates, create a reward-based goal system that tracks individual metrics appropriate for their job. Use a whiteboard or a corkboard, write each other’s names along the top and a magnet or sticker every time they reach a milestone. It’s a fun way to stay motivated!
At the end of a period, everyone can come together to dole out prizes to the people who meet their goals. You could give each other gift cards, physical items, or IOUs. Offering money off rent or exemption from chores provides a major incentive for everyone to reach their goals.