Many couples normally have a separate “work” life and “home” life. But during the pandemic, many of us suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we are both coworkers and life partners.
This experience can be challenging if it’s a major change for you. But there’s a lot about being a good co-worker that translates into being a good life partner.
It comes down to having shared goals and responsibilities and what it takes to help the “enterprise” that is your relationship to succeed.
What does that mean in specifics?
You can’t do your job if you never come to work, and you can’t be a good partner if you’re never around for them. Yes, sometimes pressing things come up. But showing up is the bare minimum first step to being a good life partner.
While you’re working together, make sure you are “showing up” to support your partner’s work needs as well as their personal needs. Are you making sure your partner has the time and space needed to handle their job? Giving their work needs priority when necessary?
Respond to Requests Promptly
It’s horribly annoying if you’re trying to get something done at work and the person you need to respond doesn’t get back to you for hours. Or days.
This is true in romantic relationships, too, except that the timeline is greatly shortened. We expect our partner to make us a priority immediately (within reason of course!).
This can be tough if you’re balancing work and home life at the same time. So take time to discuss what “response time” is appropriate during work hours. And make sure you’re both on the same page about what the work hours are.
Does the expected response time differ if it’s a work request versus a personal request? How do you prefer to receive requests during work hours — an email, a tap on the shoulder, a text?
And remember, if it’s something that’s tough to respond to in the moment, you can ask for more time. That’s still a response, and it’s better than feeling ignored.
No one likes to work hard and feel like what they do is invisible. It doesn’t matter if you’re at the office or at home — make sure you’re showing appreciation for the way other people make your life easier.
Also, let your partner know that you appreciate how they make your work-at-home life a priority or how they work to make it easier on you. Make a point to try to see and acknowledge the efforts your partner is making for this new normal.
It’s never fun to have to admit that you failed or did something wrong. But if you’re always shirking responsibility, it’s going to sour any relationship — at work or romantic.
Whether the issue is personal or related to the new work-at-home arrangements, take it seriously. Own up to it. And ask what you can do to make it better.
Keep Working on Your Communication Skills
Relationships — work and love relationships — are primarily based on being able to effectively communicate with each other.
An inability to do this at work can lead to lost productivity, missed meetings, and ultimately big problems for the business. At home, it tends to result in arguments, missed connections, and a general feeling of drifting apart.
Need more tips to become better coworkers and life partners? Tim Higdon and Norene Gonsiewski can help. Reach out today.