4 Exercises You Should Do Every Hour If You Work From The Couch

When quarantine first began, working from the couch felt like a much-needed break from the discomforts of office life. Nothing was more appealing than rolling out of bed, grabbing your laptop, and rolling straight back onto the couch. No shower, no shoes, no problem. However, the excitement of working from the couch can start to wane once the aches and pains of too much sitting start to set in. From your neck to your lower back to your hips, sitting on a soft surface with limited back support for a full work day is considerably less comfortable than it seems. And as it turns out, working from the couch for too long is bad for you, both physically and mentally. The good news? You don’t have to give up working from the couch completely just to get a bit more healthy.

The Problems

Sitting all day can have a number of negative effects on the body, but sitting slumped on a couch can be even more detrimental. “Sitting allows your muscles to become extremely tight and dysfunctional, which will compromise your posture and increase your risk of pain and injury,” says Jeff Brannigan, Program Director at Stretch*d (a New York-based dynamic assisted stretching studio). Furthermore, Brannigan goes on to explain that “working from the couch makes it very easy to sit in a not-so-great position. Many people quickly begin to slouch or slide down the couch.”

The problem? “Sitting in a compromised position drastically speeds up the onset of muscle dysfunction. You’re far more likely to feel muscle tightness, tension, and pain due to an increased likelihood of developing imbalance throughout the body.” In fact, in a 2018 study, the CDC went so far as to say that “high amounts of sedentary behavior and low levels of physical activity are associated with increased risk of premature mortality and some chronic diseases”. Yikes.

The good news is that even if you work in an industry that requires you to be sedentary for most of the day, small changes to your routine can make a big impact. Better yet, new work-from-home policies make it even easier to get up and move. Eve Lynn Chrust, a New York City-based fitness and yoga instructor (you can find her classes at Obé, SoulCycle, and Athleta) says that exercise doesn’t have to be something you force yourself to do at the end of a long work day. “Make it cumulative,” says Chrust. “If you do a little something every hour of the work day, by the end of the day you’ll have gotten more done than you might’ve expected.” Chrust says that a few exercises coupled with a few laps around your apartment every hour are enough to counteract some of the negative effects of working slumped down on the couch all day. Her advice? Set a timer on your phone to dedicate four (yes, just four) minutes of every hour to getting off the couch and moving. By the end of a standard work day, you’ll have already gotten a half hour workout in.

Here are some moves you should be doing to counteract the effects of sitting all day:

1. Walk It Out

The first one-minute move in your four-minute set? A lap around your house, a walk up and down a set of stairs or a stroll down the block! Chrust says, “there’s a mental component of getting off the couch. When you sit for too long, things can feel stagnant and repetitive and you tend to get stuck. Getting off the couch even for just a minute helps you to feel motivated, it gives you energy and might improve your focus.”

2. Squats

Chrust recommends doing 10 squats every hour to open your hips, stretch out your legs, and work your booty. “Doing just ten squats every hour throughout the workday is totally accessible, and by the end of an eight-hour work day you’ll have done 80 squats!” she says.

3. Planks

Next up is a one-minute plank. Planks are a favorite of most yogis, and with good reason. They’re an efficient way to work your entire core, front and back, says Chrust. “Abs are fundamental for posture. If you’re hunching on a couch all day, you need core strength to lengthen out your spine.”

4. Cat Cow

After you’ve completed the one-minute plank, move directly into a tabletop position, with your knees on the ground directly in line with your hips, and your hands on the ground directly in line with your shoulders. Flow through one minute of cat cow to create space in your spine, chest and neck, three spaces that are compromised when sitting on a couch for too long, says Chrust.

Images: GIPHY; Maryjoy Caballero / Unsplash

2 Tricks To Help You Actually Keep A Work/Life Balance While WFH

I have internet, so I’m aware that there are countless articles with tips and tricks to maintaining a healthy work/life balance while working from home during a pandemic. To be fair, I’m not adding anything particularly innovative to this conversation when I suggest you simply do the following: (1) Declutter your space in order to calm your mind. (2) Embrace the storm of this uncharted territory. Where I believe I can help is in the execution.

When your email inbox seems to be mercilessly replenishing, while your phone is ringing off the hook, and you’ve had to cancel yet another socially distanced Bumble “date” (read: sweaty walk on the Westside Highway) because your boss just asked you to get her something “ASAP,” take a deep breath. Fight the impulse to take a nap, and instead, clean out a closet. I’m not suggesting you organize your entire home by category, à la Marie Kondo. Only one little closet.

Take the Amazon packages from three years ago that you meant to return, the old puffy jackets with the stuffing bubbling out of the frayed seams, the enormous air purifier you actually love but never remember to buy replacement filters for, and donate them if they’re salvageable. Throw them away if they’re not. That’s it! But most articles fail to delineate exactly why having a well-organized closet will center you, and it wasn’t always abundantly clear to me either until I found myself working from home. 

The next time your emails flood in quickly enough to drown you, or you’ve forgotten what it sounds like when your phone is not ringing, or your toddler vandalizes your home and calls it an “art project,” roll out your neck, stretch your hamstrings (pro tip: don’t skip this step), walk over to your newly decluttered closet, twist the knob, step inside, and shut the door behind you. Enjoy the dark. Savor the scurrying footsteps and slightly panicked calls outside the door as your boyfriend or children search for you, never suspecting the “junk closet” has enough space for you in it. You have found peace, and all you had to do was take a moment to organize your closet. Namaste. 

Me: WFH is gonna be amazing
*2 days later*
Working from home is a SCAM all our bosses know we have LITERALLY NOWHERE TO BE so they can bother us at ANY TIME

— Betches (@betchesluvthis) March 18, 2020

Thanks to Instagram’s #inspirationalquotes, we all know that storms in life are merely tests. But we are never told how to pass!  

The next time you’re pretty sure your camera angle just showed your whole team that you weren’t wearing pants during your Zoom, open yourself up to the storm. Literally. Open weather.com, scroll down below the “daily forecast” to the “breaking news” segment and take note of where those gale force winds are growing stronger. Then unplug. Take a few hours in front of the TV, cook some dinner, read to your kids, walk your dog, or make love to your quarantine boyfriend whom you’d only be casually seeing were it not a pandemic. When you’re feeling ready to work again, simply respond to the slew of angry emails by explaining that the storm knocked out your WiFi, apologize profusely for the delay, and get on with your day. Nobody knows where you’re working from anyway! Pro-tip: Refer to a tropical storm or hurricane by its proper human name to really sell the story. The storm is your friend. Embrace it.

Working from home during a global pandemic is really just as simple as organizing and embracing. I know the countless articles on this topic are written by MDs and PhDs, and that I am neither of these things. But I did have three really productive days while working from home back in June, so in the national spirit of throwing medical advice and empirical data to the wind, this should be the new authoritative article on the subject.

In all seriousness, I don’t presume to know what each of you is going through at work or at home—especially when the two are combined—on any particular day. What I do know is that we all want to hide or unplug sometimes. My only real piece of advice is to try to be gentle with yourself, and every so often, indulge the desire to disappear for a while.

Images: XPS / Unsplash; @betchesluvthis / Twitter

Tips For Working From Home With Kids Without Going Insane
Quarantine, social distancing, and “working” from home are the new normal. For those without kids, it’s a magical time, filled with naps, eating whatever, sleeping till whenever, and just generally living life. For those of us with kids and babies, though, trying to work from the house while entertaining small children is proving to be, um, difficult. Maybe your childcare shut down in keeping with state guidelines. Maybe you had a nanny making your life a literal dream before all this and have had to temporarily suspend them because of the pandemic. Whatever the case, you’re now stuck inside with tiny people that demand constant attention, food, and entertainment. It’s like being marooned with your very drunk friend who can’t speak and only screams, cries, and whines when she wants attention or more cold pizza.
In an effort to not pull our hair out, we chatted with Lauren Benbassat, co-founder of mēle shake, a fully-balanced smoothie made from real food, about how you can work from home with your kids without completely losing it. She’s a mom and entrepreneur, and she’s got tips for staying focused, productive, and sane even with kids running around.

Organize Your Hours

Obviously, my go-to when I need to actually write a story (hi) or get some work done is making the most of nap time (or other times when my kid is distracted), and times when my partner is available to help too. Benbassat takes that a step further with some time management tools. If you think you’re organized, Benbassat, a self-proclaimed “Google addict”, keeps a detailed Google calendar that she shares with family members and the people she works with.
“I have multiple calendars which I share with various teams/parties,” she explains. “I have a personal, a husband/wife schedule, my work calendar is open and shared with team, and additionally, I have a shared ‘childcare’ calendar so my family and co-founders can see my availability for each day.”
Creating a schedule and routine not only helps you stay organized, it can also help you feel better, and therefore, more sane. If this were me, I’d add a tab for snacking time, trash TV time, and pretending to exercise time, but you also can (and should) pencil in date time, me time (more on that in a sec), meeting times, and the like.

Make Time For You

It seems really contrived to even mention self-care these days, but when you have a child, it’s so f*cking important. You’re responsible for a tiny human for what feels like every second, so being able to steal an hour to take a bath, read a book, or just watch some crappy TV will help you feel refreshed.
Benbassat knows very well that your me time as a working mom is extremely limited, and admits, “the life of a WFH mother and entrepreneur doesn’t leave much time for self-care, honestly.” So she carves out time for herself when she can, in what she calls “small moments.” For instance, “a morning walk with baby in stroller and coffee in hand!”
She adds, “If you don’t have the ability to walk outside right now, put on some music and have a family dance party. I love @amandakloots Musical Morning Playlist on Spotify.” She will also swipe on “a quick mascara and lip” when her baby goes down for a nap so she can feel like a real person for a second, and of course is a fan of “a long, hot shower once baby is in bed for the night… add a glass of wine if you want to be really extra.”
Personally, I’ve got the wine part down, and I think I still have mascara on my lashes from three days ago, so I guess I’m pretty much killing this whole self-care thing.
The momtrepreneur (sorry, but it’s accurate) also mentions that, aside from self-care, giving yourself some mental breaks can help with productivity later. “From 5am to 10pm, my day is non-stop. While I used to make time for journaling and meditation pre-baby, I’ve had to find new ways for mental health breaks. I find that classical music in the morning while I check my email and get priorities in line is what soothes me the most.” You’re not a robot; give yourself some breathers throughout the day to avoid burnout and help you stay productive.

Define Your Space

If you’re working from home, defining the space where you do your work can help with productivity. Having been working remotely on and off for the past 8 years, Benbassat says, “having a designated space for your office is KEY.” Obviously, having a separate office is ideal, but since that’s not possible for everyone, just make sure you’re changing up your environment and blocking off some area to do work in (sadly, this means no longer calling your bed “the office”). “That way,” she explains, “when you ‘go to work’ you are physically relocating to a new space and shifting mentally to work-mode.” She adds, “For me, I need three things to add to my work space: a plant, a bit of sunlight, and my water bottle.”
In other words, maybe don’t sit on the couch in front of the TV to do that project. And leave your bedroom as a retreat—no laptops, spreadsheets, or conference calls allowed.

Eat, And Make Time For Eating

It may sound crazy to anyone without kids, but when you have a baby or small child, making time to actually sit, breathe, and f*cking eat is a luxury. But when you’re working, you need food to keep that brain going, so having a good breakfast and lunch is super important.

Benbassat’s number one tip for making sitting down, eating, and actually enjoying your food easier and more time efficient is to meal prep. She obviously swears by mēle shakes as a quick breakfast or snack, but also keeps a number of easy-grab items in the fridge that can be thrown together for a quick dish. For instance, some washed and chopped veggies, fruits, and lettuce that she can quickly add to salads, bowls, or sides. She also swears by quinoa with lentils: “I prep a big batch on Sunday, cooked with chicken broth and ghee. I use throughout the week for quick bowls (with chopped veggies) and dinner sides.” She also mixes up a quick and protein-rich 3-bean salad with chickpeas, black beans, and green beans (you can sub for whatever beans you like). “Toss with red wine vinegar, olive oil, and Italian dressing seasoning, marinate in fridge,” she instructs. “It’s great with crackers, added to salad, or as a side.”

If you had told me a year or two ago that I would become one of those people who forgets to eat, I would have laughed in your face. But as a mom, this sh*t is real.

Look, working from home isn’t easy. Working from home during quarantine as a result of a worldwide pandemic is hard. Add kids to the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a breakdown. Stop, breathe, and tell yourself the work will get done, the kids will be fine, and someday we’ll all go to brunch again.

Images: Charles Deluvio, Unsplash; Giphy (3); @lauren.benbassat

8 Cozy Loungewear Pieces You Can Work From Home In

If I relate to any fictional character, it’s Schitt’s Creek’s Alexis Rose, who wears an ensemble to her court-mandated community service. I, too, dress up regardless of where I’m going, but in these trying times, I haven’t left my apartment in *checks calendar* a long f*cking time, and I don’t want to waste an outfit if the only people who see me are the frat boys who live in the apartment across the street. However, I refuse to wear my floor-length bathrobe and magenta Uggs all day because I am a firm believer in look good, feel good, and it’s hard to feel like a boss when I look like Tony Soprano pre-coffee. Seriously, if we are going to be staying in our homes for what looks like the foreseeable future, it’s important to make yourself and your home as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

So because I have paused my Rent The Runway account and the only clothes I own are jeans and oversized T-shirts, I have decided to invest in loungewear that is both cute and extremely comfortable. Again, I’m not trying to impress anyone with my outfits because no one can see me, but if you are like me, you feel more productive and useful when you get dressed in actual clothes, rather than just chilling in whatever you slept in. So, between reading emails and pretending to pay attention in Zoom meetings, I scoured the internet for quality loungewear and these are my  favorite things that I’m excited to live in for the next quarter.

Aerie Plush Jogger, $23

I got these joggers over the summer and am shocked they’re still in stock, because they’re the most comfortable item I own. I don’t like to be swimming in sweats, so I sized down and they fit a little more snuggly than pictured above, but you do you. Here’s how amazing these are: my incredibly bougie boy toy thought they were cashmere. I’d also like to add that I am pretty tall and these are way more high-waisted than they are on the model above, but I like them that way because I can wear a cropped tee with them and not feel like a wannabe TikTok star.

Alo Yoga Ombre Legging, $59

 

I have these in every color and have never worked out in them because these are my lounge leggings. If someone told me they’re made of silk and clouds, I’d believe it. Truth be told, I like my leggings to be a little bit sculpting because I feel like I’m wearing a fitted sheet otherwise, but these are neither light nor sculpting. However, they work because the material is thick enough that when I bend over because I spilled pancake mix all over the floor, no one can see my bare ass. Highly recommend.

American Apparel Peppered Fleece Cropped Pullover, $36

When my former roommate broke our lease and abruptly moved out, I made sure to keep forgot to give back her American Apparel sweatshirt. However, because karma is a b*tch, I leaned against a freshly painted pillar on the subway platform and properly ruined the sweatshirt. Luckily, American Apparel has a storefront on Amazon and, not only did I replace it, but I bought it in every color! It’s easy to just throw on, it’s super soft and, unless you dunk it in wet paint, holds up pretty well.

Lunya Washable Silk Set, $178

I know this set is super expensive for pajamas, but hear me out. My roommate got me the Slip silk pillowcase for my birthday and I didn’t realize how amazing silk was until I slept on this pillowcase. Silk is cooling, obviously very soft, so light and just all-around amazing. The only problem with silk is that it’s hard to wash if you’re a peasant and don’t go to the dry cleaners for your PJs. These, however are washable and, may I add, so worth the price. They’re so f*cking comfortable and you can even wear them out once the world returns to regular programming. I’ve definitely tucked this top into a pair of high-waisted Levi’s and called it a day.

Target Striped Perfectly Cozy Lounge Pajama Shorts, $14.99

I don’t have to tell you that everything Target sells is amazing, but I will say, these shorts are no exception. They’re made from Target’s super secret Perfectly Cozy material, which explains why they are so comfortable. I proudly own the matching sweatshirt and am proudly wearing this set as I sit here writing this story.

P.J. Salvage Peachy Long Sleeve Top, $60

I swear I don’t mean this in a bad way, but the material is actually really thin, which I appreciate because waffled tops generally activate all of my sweat glands. This one is super soft and a tiny bit sheer, which is fine if you are also alone in your apartment. P.J. Salvage is famous for its super-soft materials and this oversized top is no exception. This top runs a little big, so size down if you don’t want it to double as a short dress.

Wildfox Tennis Club Sweatpants, $36

I could be wrong, but I feel like after Juicy Couture exited the scene, Wildfox promptly took its place. I have a few pairs of the signature Tennis Club sweats and I love them. They’re so soft and, I don’t know how, but incredibly flattering on my butt. It’s not just me, though. A few of my friends have said the same. They are perfect for times like these when you can’t leave.

Sarah Liller Penelope Jumpsuit, $128

Is it crazy to drop so much on a jumpsuit that’s so soft it feels like pajamas? I mean, I’ve definitely stress-impulse-bought worse things. This jumpsuit is, as I previously mentioned, so f*cking soft and comfortable. And I know that some of you may come at me for promoting actual clothes during these times, but this is where you’re wrong. Less pieces to put on and take off = less effort. You can wear this on your Zoom meeting to look professional, then you can fall asleep on your couch in it, and you can even wear it outside of the house (if we are ever allowed to do that again).

Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link and purchase a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.

Images: Inside Weather / Unsplash; Aerie; Nordstrom; Electric Yoga; Amazon (2); Lunya; Target; PJ Salvage;

The Types Of People In Quarantine

Quarantining for coronavirus affects all of us differently. I mean, there really isn’t a wrong way to handle being in quarantine, as long as you’re actually quarantining and staying home! For some people, this is their total dream to stay at home and cancel all plans and not go to work. Others are going stir crazy with anxiety and obsessively checking the news. But whoever you are in this pandemic, let’s hope you’re staying the f*ck home so that we can get this over with. Remember, the sooner we can social distance and get this under control, the sooner we can go back to playing outside like real people. Don’t f*ck it up for all of us. Here are the types of people in quarantine:

Look, we get it, germs are all around us and are trying to murder us, particularly now. You go ahead and have fun Lysoling your shoes, Cloroxing the door handle, and making your Postmates delivery driver follow a complicated set of directions so that you don’t come into contact when they drop off your food. Just make sure you’re not hoarding the Purell, okay?

For a lot of people, this is the first time they’ve actually stayed home and cooked a meal in years. But now that all socializing is dead, we have nothing but time to learn how to be gourmet chefs via YouTube. Cooking is a great skill to learn under quarantine, however, please politely remember that no one cares. We don’t care about your meal prep, grocery list, or how you cook your very basic meal of choosing. Keep it to yourself. You don’t win an award because you’re not Postmates-ing McDonald’s every night, and anybody can throw a pasta dish together.

I’m sorry, but no, if you’re being this positive about quarantine, you are being the worst. This is not a gift. This f*cking sucks, people are dying, but congratulations on using your time efficiently. If yoga, crystals, and knitting are keeping you off the edge in these highly anxious times, then fine, but please shut the f*ck up about it.

I am this image and I don’t even mind. What’s the point of showering? What’s the point of plucking your eyebrows? No one is around to see you, except maybe your dog or roommates. Why bother getting dressed or brushing the Cheetos dust off your shirt? Plus, you can’t get your roots done, your mustache waxed, or your eyebrows or nails done anyway so things are going to be rough for a while no matter what you do. Enjoy this time. (But try to at least take a shower.)

With the gyms closing, fitness nuts everywhere are losing their sh*t. This is a particularly trying time for those of us in tiny city apartments (hi!). From trying to figure out how the f*ck we’ll get our 10,000 steps in a 500-square-foot apartment to using things around the house to keep our lifting schedule, gym goers everywhere are getting pretty crafty. So go ahead, squat your couch. sprint up and down your tiny hallway, annoy the sh*t out of your downstairs neighbors, because when we finally are allowed out again, everyone is going to be sooo jealous of your abs.

Actually though, what are you people who bought out all the toilet paper doing with it all now? You just have like, 10 years worth of toilet paper stored in your garage? Are you making TP forts? You’re all assholes for hoarding so much and making everyone freak out. DO NOT be that guy.

Congratulations if you’re actually getting work done while working from home! But like, if this Zoom meeting could have been an email, I don’t blame you for secretly watching Netflix with the subtitles on instead. Do whatever you’ve got to do to survive. You’ll look back on these times fondly when you’re inevitably trapped in your tiny cubicle for the rest of your life.

Which quarantine type are you? How are you staying sane? What’s the best/worst parts of quarantine? Let me know in the comments, I’m desperate for any kind of entertainment or human interaction.

Images: Holly Hammond; Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

How To Not Slack Off While You’re Working From Home

For millennials and Gen-Zers, the COVID-19 pandemic is the most intense economic and social crisis we have faced in our lifetime. At first not everyone was taking it seriously (and some spring breakers in Florida still aren’t) but as things have gotten exponentially worse in such a short time, we are all faced with a new reality. And that reality looks a hell of lot like working from home for an undefined time period, if you are lucky enough to be able to do so.

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11am is the new 5pm, just start drinking whenever you want. By @whenshappyhr ⭐️: @pandalise

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Working from home for a couple days here or there is completely different from WFH indefinitely, which is sadly what the future holds right now. That fact in and of itself can be demotivating, so here are a few tips of how to stay motivated and productive when you’re stuck working from home.

Overly Communicate

Since you can’t go over to someone’s desk to talk to them like in the good old days, chances are you’re relying on a chat service like Slack to interact with your coworkers, or at a bare minimum, email. Think of all those little convos you have at work that aren’t necessarily meetings, but still are about projects you’re working on, like the quick unplanned touch base you and your work wife have as you make avocado toast in the office kitchen. Keep those convos alive—emails or Slack messages don’t all have to be super formal requests. Letting people know what you are working on and just providing status updates also helps motivate others because let’s be real, even in the office we can’t help but to think sometimes “WTF is that person even doing?” is they’re not Slacking you back immediately. But don’t just limit this to some people—keep your team and your manager informed.

Be Empathetic To Your Coworkers

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I’ll never yell at any of you again 😭

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If there was a time to be good f*cking coworker, this is it. Everyone deals with stress and anxiety differently, and this is a highly stressful time. There also tons of different work from home situations that make things even stressful, like parents who are now home with their children, someone who lives alone and is struggling, or those people who now find themselves trying to have a conference call at the same time as their S.O. Now more than ever, you don’t know what people are dealing with, so before you send that aggressive Slack, think for an extra second.

Encourage Non-Working Ways Of Staying Connected

If you’re lucky enough to consider (some of) your coworkers your friends, that means you just went from seeing them all day every day to literally not at all. In the time of WFH, not everything has to be strictly business—get a virtual happy hour going through programs like Airtime, Zoom, or House Party, because let’s be real, you’re all looking for an excuse to start drinking at 4:30pm anyway.

Conduct Business As Usual

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Shocked and appalled my frozen pizza diet isn’t working out for me. by @disco_infern0 Follow @dietstartstomorrow for more relatable af content about food and (not) working out.

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Don’t operate under the assumption that projects or conversations can wait until you’re back at work, since we legit have no idea when that will be. You don’t want to be the one person slacking off only to realize your entire team is operating status quo. Stay on top of your sh*t, create and maintain deadlines, and keep projects flowing. Despite this being a beyond hectic time, business as usual must continue to keep operations carrying on as seamlessly as possible.

Create Structure Around Your Day

If you used to work out before work, keep it up. If you used to work out after work, don’t stop just because you’ve spent all day inside. We all know it’s a hell of lot less motivating working out in the same space you’re spending all of your time in, so encourage yourself by taking an at-home workout class. We put together a list of 16 fitness apps and studios that are offering their home workout services online for free—check them out here. You’re welcome.

Take A Damn Shower & Change Out Of Your Pajamas

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Ok I get it you’re better than me

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We’re not saying to take this as far as wearing jeans, but take a shower and put on some real clothes (and by real clothes we mean leggings and maybe a bra). We’ll take whatever hack we can to stay focused and feel like a real person during this extended WFH period and we guarantee the better you feel, the better you’re going to do at your job.

Images: Sincerely Media / Unsplash; @betches (2), @fatcarriebradshaw, @sarafcarter / Instagram

How To Work From Home With Your SO Without Killing Them

As an increasing number of establishments close their doors and ask their employees to work from home due to coronavirus, more and more couples are faced with the age-old question: How TF do we both work from home without killing each other? Between different hours, different work styles, and different preferences when it comes to things like having music on or talking on the phone in the living room, it’s enough to put a strain on even the most steadfast of couples.

So, how the hell do I know this? For the past year, my husband and I have both worked from home. At first, it was in our 2-bedroom apartment in Austin, then it was in a 400-square-foot studio apartment (with two human-sized dogs mixed in, I might add). Now, thankfully, it’s in our 3-bedroom home. The point is, we’ve had to learn how to adjust to each other’s schedules, respect boundaries when we were literally working on top of each other, and manage to get through the workweek without breaking up and/or murdering one another. It takes a little work, but once you get it down, you’ll be able to blissfully refresh your email while watching Netflix get your work done mere feet from your love and be as productive as ever. 

Here’s how you work from home without killing each other, and actually getting work done.

the office work from home

1. Know Each Other’s Schedules

Maybe he’s working a 9am-5pm and you’re working a 2pm-10pm. Odds are you know each other’s schedules already, but just in case, fill your new coworker in on your hours. Do you have a meeting every Monday at noon? Are you allowed to sign off early on Fridays? Are mornings hectic and afternoons slow? Whether you debrief each other on a daily or weekly basis, knowing when you can and can’t interrupt the other is key to making all of this work. My tip? Before an important meeting, call, or assignment that you need full attention for, let the other know. They don’t want to f*ck with your career, but we’re all bored as sh*t and need some human interaction. Communicate when you will be actually busy so this co-working relationship doesn’t turn into the quarantined breakup from hell.

2. Make A Big Deal Out Of Meetings

I can’t stress this enough. When it’s time to actually like, work (i.e. you have a call with your boss or a meeting with someone), tell your SO a few times and ask for what you need. Do you need him/her to not come into the room? Do you need absolute silence? A few minutes before something big. remind your partner that you’re going to be busy for an estimated amount of time, and tell them what you need to succeed. If they don’t know, they can’t help you. But by laying down what you need and reminding them right before, it helps even the most forgetful partner give you the time and space you need. It’s the mantra of relationships: They can’t read your mind. Speak up and ask them to do the same.

3. Have Your Own Space

Someone gets the office, someone gets the bedroom. If that doesn’t work, someone gets the couch and someone gets the table. Maybe you switch it up daily or maybe you agree on these spaces and stick with them. Either way, designate work areas for each of you that are SPECIFICALLY your spots. This is where your work computer, your chargers, and your daytime snacks go. By having an area to call your own, it’s easier for the other person to tell you’re in work mode when you’re sitting at the desk versus when you’re walking around the kitchen on your phone. Plus, it will make after-hours relaxing easier if you don’t mix your “workspace” with your “lounge space.”

Pro tip: If you’re low on space, something as simple as sitting on the other end of the couch during work hours can make all the difference.

4. Utilize Doors And Headphones

Doors! They’re amazing. And headphones? They’re like doors for your ears! If you look at other “how to work from home” posts, one thing they all say is “pretend your SO isn’t there.” Which is, in my non-professional opinion, bullsh*t. First of all, one of the very few perks of this sh*tty and devastating pandemic is the fact that we not only get to work from home, but we (hopefully) get to spend some extra time with the people we love. It’s like college all over again when you’d sit in his bed doing your online Spanish class, except this time you’re getting paid and your livelihood is on the line.

Anyway, the point being, pretending the other person isn’t there is not only depressing, but it’s pointless. What isn’t pointless is using physical boundaries that the other person knows to indicate that now is not the time to hang out. For him? It’s the office door. For me? It’s headphones. If his door is closed or my headphones are in, we both know that the other is in the middle of some sh*t and to only interrupt if there’s an emergency, like another celebrity tests positive for COVID-19 or we’re officially out of toilet paper. By having something tangible that the other person can see, it makes them stop in their tracks and take a moment to decide if this is something they NEED to tell you this minute, or if it can wait until you go back to slacking off.

5. Find Your Focus

It’s easy to blame your SO for distracting you when the work day comes to an end and you realize you didn’t get everything done. If they didn’t keep walking into the room, kissing you and telling you how beautiful you looked in your old sorority tee and sporting a 5-days-since-washed pony, you might actually have gotten things done. Right? In reality, the first thing you need to realize working from home is how you work best. When are you most productive? Do interruptions completely ruin your flow or do you like having some random distractions? If your partner wants to chat, are you cool with them coming in and talking or would you prefer for them to wait and talk during designated breaks? Figure out how you work best then communicate that with your partner so you can both get your sh*t done in as little time as possible and bust open your end-of-the-day pandemic wine a little bit early.

6. Stick To Your Boundaries And Show The Same Respect You Would To Other Coworkers

If you need an hour in the morning to be alone with your coffee and misery, make that clear. If you like watching TV while you answer emails and don’t want to be disturbed while Ian Somerhalder is on-screen, mention that. Make very clear expectations of what you need to succeed and listen as your partner does the same. Respect what each other is asking (unless it’s something that hurts you or upsets you, in which case, talk about it) and gently enforce your boundaries if they forget or start to overstep.

Speaking of respect, even though you’ve seen this person naked and you pretty much, if not actually, live together, you still need to treat them like they’re one of your coworkers. Meaning, you have to respect each other’s time and space. While you might have a light workday and are able to get chores done and vacuum the entire house, he or she might not be able to drop everything to help you hang up those photos you’ve been meaning to display for the past year. Think of work hours as morphing your relationship for a bit. Yes, your person is there but no, you can’t demand their undivided attention like you normally can. Keep that in mind and read the vibes if he/she doesn’t seem as into slacking off as you are.

7. Take Breaks Together And Separately

One of the major perks of working from home is the breaks. Without your boss physically panting down your neck, you have the ability to get your work done and actually f*cking breathe. While it can be super easy to get honed into your computer, being hunched over your laptop while perched on your old sofa for nine hours straight isn’t great. Now you can actually take breaks without feeling guilty. During the day, take some breaks alone but also carve out a few you can take together. Whether that means sitting outside to eat lunch, folding laundry, or just sitting and talking over a homemade cup of coffee (ugh), having some time to chill out during the day together will not only make the workday go faster, but it will make you feel more connected.

Kelly and Ryan the office

8. Enjoy The Extra Moments Together

As much as I like to complain, working from home together is seriously the best, once you iron out the kinks. You get to have breakfast (or at least some coffee together), you can take a lunch break at the same time, and instead of sending each other memes throughout the day, you can talk face to face and/or make out. While yeah, it can be distracting to be around your SO all day, once you get your boundaries up and keep a line of communication open, enjoy it! Not only that, but make it truly special. Something I love about both of us being home for work is the extra opportunities we get to do lovey things. Kisses in the kitchen, a refill on coffee without asking, a surprise sandwich at lunch—little ways to show you care that you don’t normally get to do when you’re both at separate offices. Sure, there are more chances to get annoyed and underfoot, but there are also a lot more opportunities to make sweet memories and have fun during the weekday together.

9. Make Sure You Both Understand Where Sex Stands

For some, working from home together means more opportunities to get it on. For others, it means awkward moments where you’re trying to answer emails and he’s sucking on your neck. There’s no right or wrong answer here. You will have more chances to have sex, which is great if mornings aren’t for you, or by the time evening comes around you’re too exhausted to move. A little afternoon delight might just be your saving grace. If, however, you’d like to stick to a traditional schedule and hold off on sex stuff until outside of work hours, make that clear from the first turned-down initiation. Not only will it eliminate any additional sexually-charged stress, but you’ll both know where you’re at and have something to look forward to when you both finally shut down your laptops.

10. Have Some Clocked Out Time Together

One of the hardest parts about working from home together is still taking time to be with each other. It’s weird, because you’re under the same roof all day, eating the same lunch and grunting at each other when you refill your coffee cups, but you’re not actually spending tons of quality time together. Instead, make sure to still set aside some date time after or before work, just like you would normally do. Spending that extra passive time working together, while great, isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. Whether it’s a movie night, a picnic in your backyard, or making the most of your lack of commute and taking shots the second the clock hits 5pm, there are plenty of ways to have fun, be productive, and keep each other (as well as the rest of the world) safe.

Images: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock.com; Giphy (3)