The increasingly popular work from home movement provides many benefits — goodbye, commute time, hello, comfortable clothing! — but it also creates some challenges. Among them: determining the right home office ideas for two people.
Sharing a workspace with someone other than your coworkers can be tricky. Whether you share your work from home privilege with a roommate, partner, or kids, here are nine shared home office ideas to help retain your sanity and boost your productivity!
1. Utilize Windows
Face your workspace toward a window, so you’re looking outside. Facing the outdoors can help eliminate visual distractions inside your home. Plus, natural light can help you feel more awake and energized!
2. Choose Comfort Over Conformity
If you have the space for two desks in one home office, don’t waste time worrying about making sure they match. It’s customary to have row after row of similar desks and cubicles in a large, dedicated office. Since this is YOUR space, you can outfit it with any office desk each of you prefers: a standing desk, a small writing desk, a large executive desk, etc.
3. Divide and Conquer
Space permitting, it might help to separate your two work areas physically. One easy way to achieve this? Rent a room divider as part of your home office rental package. Make sure it’s light enough to put away quickly to keep the space flexible. You can also use rugs to outline where your “office” ends physically and the other person’s office begins.
4. Become a Neat Freak
Working from home requires a special kind of discipline to keep your work and home life balanced. Don’t become so comfortable working at home that you neglect a few simple but crucial organization rules. Here are three shared office courtesy ideas to consider:
- Use a desk organizer: Minimize your paperwork’s “footprint” by incorporating a desk organizer in each person’s workspace.
- Create a shared supply cabinet: Create a dedicated organization nook where shared supplies are kept, including staplers, pens, paper, notebooks, etc.
- Clean up dishes: If you’re not careful, coffee mugs and snack plates can stack up over time. Make it a habit to return cups, bowls, and plates to the kitchen.
5. Chat Discreetly
Look, we all partake in non-work-related discussions with coworkers from time to time. Recognize that work calls of a more friendly and chatty nature may prove distracting to others working nearby. Try to keep them brief or move away from your working-from-home roommate or partner.
6. Eliminate Noise
Make it a rule for both of you to use headphones instead of speakerphone as often as possible for work calls. If unavoidable eavesdropping wreaks havoc with your productivity, invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones. If you already have headphones compatible with your smartphone, search for apps that can pipe in decorative white noise or soothing ambient music as you work.
7. Invest in the Right Furniture
If your work from home situation coincides with a new move, or if you’re ready to streamline your life, consider renting furniture. This budget-friendly move ensures that your home office set-up — as well as the rest of your place — always features what you need, not one piece less, nor one piece more!
8. Share Your Schedule
One of the common problems when sharing an office space is knowing when your work-from-home buddy is on an important work call or meeting. Sharing your work schedule can help the other person understand when to be extra quiet. You can share your work schedule electronically by sharing your calendars, or you can share meeting times daily on a shared whiteboard.
9. Communicate and Iterate
Working out these and other rules for home office ideas for two is a great start. But to optimize your work from home situations, communicate often. Talk with one another about what is working and what needs to be tweaked. The best arrangement will likely present itself to you only after a series of adjustments, no matter how small.