3 Rules that 2 Adults Use to Share 1 Open Plan Loft Without Annoying Each Other

updated Jul 9, 2020
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Ever been caught dancing in the background of your partner’s Zoom call? Me neither. 

My husband Michael and I live in a 750-square foot loft with twelve-foot ceilings and a large east-facing window in Brooklyn. We couldn’t be more in love with our place—it’s airy and spacious, but the open-floor plan makes it tricky for his traditional office job and my work as a content creator to co-exist. His colleagues may or may not have watched me practice a TikTok while in a serious team meeting.

Yet, we thought we were both trained for shelter-in-place, having worked from home two days a week for months before the outbreak. Although my full-time job in digital marketing (at the time) and his architectural design gig couldn’t be more different, we got along well—taking calls, replying to emails and smiling at each other from opposite ends of the desk. 

But the trouble came around the end of month one, after I resigned from my agency job to focus on my personal brand and influencer career. My day-to-day instantly changed to shooting organic and sponsored content at home. The living room became a set for my fashion shoots, the kitchen for my cooking IGTVs, and the quiet reading area was where I chatted with other bloggers on Instagram Live. My job took over the entire loft, and although Michael was a good sport at first, he was constantly distracted by my spontaneous dance parties or high-pitched recording voice.

If you’re also struggling to work from home with your significant other, here are three rules we follow for successful coworking and coliving:

Make note of each other’s schedules

Write down your daily schedules on a shared board or leave a couple post-it notes at each other’s desks so you’re clear on when serious meetings, focused work, or unstructured free play are happening. Since Michael and I started doing that, we were able to set clear rules: doing quiet computer work during important meetings, shooting videos around lunchtime, and wearing noise-canceling headphones during Instagram Live chats.

Create a dedicated workspace

It’s healthy to create physical separation when you share an open space with your partner. Whether one person sets up an office in the living room and the other takes the bedroom, figure out the corner of the apartment that works for you and try to stick to it.

Take turns making meals

Planning meals and assigning kitchen duties to each other ahead of time helps add structure to the day, while ensuring every meal is ready on time. Michael and I do this every night, which lowers the chances of major interruptions in our work schedules.

Of course, we are beyond grateful to have each other in good health with the ability to work from home, but it isn’t always easy. With all the tools we have to stay in touch with those outside our isolation bubbles, it helps to remember that some of the most important communication is with the person sitting right next to you.