It’s no exaggeration to say that the current pandemic has completely disrupted our daily lives. For those of us who usually work an office job, one of the most perceptible changes in our day-to-day lives is undoubtedly the remote work policies enforced by local governments and companies.
A job with a flexible work-from-home policy used to sound ideal, but now that sustained remote work protocols are in place, you might find yourself at a loss. The reality of working from home is starting to set in. Plus, if you live in a flatshare, there’s an added layer of complexity. Making sure that you and your flatmates don’t distract each other, sharing common spaces fairly, keeping the flat clean… the list goes on. It might seem quite demanding to stay productive in your work while managing your shared flat, but don’t despair. Just follow our simple tips and everything will go smoothly.
When it comes to co-living, communication is always the key. This rings even truer now that you’re working from home and sharing the same space with your flatmates all day. Your flatmates are now your co-workers, and during the day, you should treat them as such. As you would in the workplace, set some clear ground rules and expectations. It might sound a bit formal to do so, but organising a meeting with all your flatmates can be helpful to make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss respective routines, make sure everyone shares any concerns they might have, and agree on some ground rules for the flat. Setting some clear boundaries from the get-go will help avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary frustration.
Some of you might want to work from the flat’s common spaces, in which case you should establish a system to define who works from where. If your flat has enough suitable workspaces for everyone, agree on a designated spot per person. If not, you might have to establish a rotation to ensure everyone gets to enjoy the best workspaces equally. You should also find out how noise-sensitive your flatmates are, and establish rules pertaining to phone calls. If you’ll be working from the flat’s common spaces, the best might be to have a dedicated place for calls, such as your own bedrooms or a closed off space in the flat.
Flat cleanliness and chores should also be discussed. As you’re now spending most of your time at home, it’s likely that the flat will get messier, quicker. It’s important that you stick to your cleaning rota, or establish one if you haven’t done so already. Make sure that your flat is tidy - nothing is more distracting than trying to concentrate on your work in a cluttered environment. Clear your space, clear your mind.
After the discussion, make sure you openly communicate with your flatmates on a day-to-day basis. A quick tip to ensure you are aligned is to share your respective calendars, and to try scheduling your activities at the most convenient time. You might want to plan your electric guitar practice after your flatmate has had that important video call with her boss.
At the end of the day, it’s all about being extra mindful of your flatmates. This is a difficult time for everyone, so we should all try to adapt and make each other's lives easier.
Now that you’ve established ground rules with your flatmates, the ball is in your court to be productive. The first step is organising your personal workspace to make sure your environment is suitable for work and conducive to productivity. Make sure that the space you choose has good lighting, is comfortable and clutter-free. If you’re lucky enough to have space to set up a dedicated desk in your room, you can create a stylish bedroom office. If this isn’t the case, we don’t recommend working from your room. Working in bed doesn’t exactly spell productivity!
Next up is building your to-do list. Having a clear idea of the tasks at hand is crucial, and the list helps you track your daily progress. Plus, is there a better feeling than crossing things off your to-do? To elevate your list and make it more effective, use productivity methods. The Eisenhower Matrix can help you define tasks, while the Rule of Three or the 1-3-5 Method can help you better structure your list. Productivity apps can also be useful. You should always aim to prepare your to-do list the night before, at the end of your work day. This way, you set yourself up for success for the next day, and you can hit the ground running knowing everything that you need to work on.
One might argue that the oddest thing about working from home is that your routine is completely out of whack. Staying in your pyjamas all day? Having breakfast at 1pm? When you’re not in your normal routine, it can be hard to keep up with a productive schedule. It might be tempting to laze around all day, but trust us, setting a schedule for yourself will help tremendously.
Start by establishing a morning routine - and sticking to it. In the morning, make sure you take the time to get ready for the day, instead of snoozing your alarm until the last minute and firing up your laptop the moment you open your eyes. Once you’re done with your morning routine, take some time to plan your day. Usually, the rhythm of your days at work are marked by different events - meetings, lunches, etc. Now that you’re more in charge of your personal timetable, it’s easy to get off track and not plan a strict schedule. However, planning your timetable will give you a sense of control and direction. Use your calendar to schedule in mealtimes, breaks, and timeslots to work on specific tasks. This will help you stay on track and avoid distractions.
We hope that these tips will help you stay productive when working from your flatshare. Although managing living with flatmates can seem complicated during the home confinement, we should all try to make the best of it. After all, these are the people we’re spending most of our time with these days, and the ones saving us from total isolation. Try to enjoy these slower days and spend some quality time with your flatmates. Planning fun activities together can be a great way to switch off after your work day.
Laurence Decarie is a marketing executive at Badi and covers lifestyle topics related to flatsharing. If you're looking for a new room in London, Barcelona, Madrid or Berlin, head over to Badi's website or download their app.
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