There are some things where two is better than one – that’s why we have BOGO sales and why we can all remember the Doublemint gum jingle from 30 years ago.
When it comes to working remotely, considering a home office for two can be really great or really terrible.
Sharing an office space can work if you want it to and if you plan for it. It’s not necessarily about who you’re sharing it with; instead, it’s about how well your space is organized and how functional you’re able to make it.
Is It Possible to Work In the Same Home Office Space with Your Spouse/Partner?
Three out of four employees surveyed say they’d prefer to keep working from home regardless of how the pandemic continues to progress.
If that’s the case in your household, it’s time to invest in an office setup that addresses your needs. And if you have a partner who’s also working from home, designing a setup that works for both of you can ensure you’re both productive and harmonious throughout the workday.
In order to work in the same space and still like each other at the end of the workday, it’s important to make a plan for both physical and emotional situations:
- How will you handle it if one partner’s feeling overwhelmed?
- How often will you each be available for personal/household management conversations versus focused on your individual work efforts?
- If the office needs to be tidied up or if supplies need to be replaced, who will be responsible?
- If you’re feeling distracted by sharing a home office, how will you let your partner know you need a little quiet time and/or space?
Discuss your preferences.
How does each partner prefer to work? Discuss set hours for work and the amount of space needed. Does one partner prefer quiet while another needs white noise or music to focus?
It can also be important to understand your own levels of distractibility. If movement bothers you, you may want to ensure your workspace isn’t facing your partner’s space head-on.
And, finally, how clean and clear do you like to keep your space? Will you want to keep technology devices out of sight and therefore need easily accessible cabinetry for hiding your printer or other devices?
Design a space that’s functional for your needs.
You’re going to spend quite a few hours in your office each day. When you’re designing a home office for two, it’s worth it to invest some time and energy into ensuring everyone has what they need to succeed.
For example, if you have alternating schedules, you might think that each person will take turns using the desk space. What happens, though, when one person’s on deadline and in the middle of project with papers and notebooks spread out?
Does one person’s work take priority or could a home office area with two kneespaces and two sets of power outlets give everyone a little extra peace of mind?
At a traditional office, you’d rarely expect to share a desk with another person, even if you worked completely different schedules. Give yourself the gift of your own personal space when you’re putting together a home office for two.
Being thoughtful with your choice of home office cabinetry can allow each person to be functional and to ensure they feel at home in their space. Depending on your work style and preferences, you may want:
- Cabinets with doors to keep your space mostly clear and clean
- Open-front cabinetry to give you easy access to your printer
- Bookshelves for keeping books and sentimental/inspirational items
- File cabinets to keep loose paper from dominating your space
Purchase the supplies you need to keep things running smoothly.
A client with a small home was working from the kitchen table while her husband used the one desk in the home (stationed in their guest bedroom). While neither of them considered the situation ideal, the wife felt especially frustrated because she was unable to keep her work items all in one place.
Instead of being able to settle into a designated workspace and start being productive, she found herself spending time each day tracking down her work items – a laptop charger, a pair of headphones, her notebook, a pen, a highlighter.
While each item on its own was small, stepping away to find her work tools and resources meant breaking her train of thought. And, because she was working at home, she found herself walking to the kitchen catch-all drawer for a pen, then getting distracted into having a snack or putting away a load of dishes. Her productivity tanked.
By adding a custom home office space with storage drawers, shelves and baskets, this woman was able to create a more productive environment, and one that she was able to effectively manage and enjoy. Incorporating small and thoughtful space-saving details and features ensured she was able to get the supplies she needed, keep them in the right places and feel confident and focused during her work hours.
What Size Space Do you Need for a Home Office for Two?
If you’re already working with a small space, you may wonder how it could be possible to squeeze one office unit into a space, much less create room for two remote workers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save space while creating your home office.
A drop-down desk can be a very popular and versatile option for a cramped space. This space-saving surface hides away in your custom cabinetry until you’re ready to use it; it’s also accompanied by cabinets and drawers so you can keep all your office items in one place.
Some people even add drop-down desks in their kitchens as a homework area or in a large closet as a means of providing greater privacy. For example, if one of the two office space users takes a lot of phone calls during the day, it might make sense to provide an option that can be more private when needed.
If you’re considering making over a guest room as a home office space, adding a space-saving bed might free up the floor space you need while at the same time ensuring you’re able to host family members and special guests when necessary.
A Murphy bed can be incorporated into many home office setups, giving you the space you need for both work and entertaining. Just make sure you have a serious conversation with your partner about whether you’re okay with their daytime napping – the Murphy bed just might be too comfortable and convenient to resist!
Ready to talk to a designer? You can begin the process by scheduling a free design consultation.