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Creating Effective Home Office Spaces When You Live with Other People

This year, home offices have become the norm for thousands of people. Remote work has become more prominent than ever, which can have its pros and cons. Some of the benefits include increased flexibility and productivity. 

But, when you live with other people, it can be difficult to have your own home office. If you have to share your workspace or you can’t find a quiet place, that productivity (and your motivation) can go right out the window. 

When you share a living space with other people, you might not have a lot of room to “take over” with an office. So, what can you do? How can you create an effective home office space when you don’t have an official “room” for it? 

Let’s look at a few ideas that will allow you to stay productive while you’re living with others and working from home. 

Consider a Shared Space

When you’ve got roommates or you’re living with family, every place in your home might feel like a “shared space.” But, there are ways to make that work for you. 

For example, if you have a roommate who also works from home, consider collaborating on your office space. You can even work together to create a productive work environment for both of you that includes things like:  

  • A coffee station
  • A communal workspace
  • A snack shelf
  • A large calendar

Working in the same office setting can scratch the communal itch you might be missing from in-person work. When you both have the same mindset, you can focus on your individual jobs and not have to worry about invading the other person’s space elsewhere in the house. You can also work to motivate each other throughout the day. Take breaks at the same time, and stay quiet when it’s time to work. Even if you don’t have the same job or work for the same company, don’t be afraid to bounce ideas off of each other or ask for input throughout the day. 

It’s easier than you might think to share a space, even if you live in a small house or apartment. Declutter a specific room or even one area of a room to create enough space for both of you. Decluttering will help with productivity and keep you both organized. 

Get Creative With Your Space

A home office doesn’t have to be an entire room. The most important factors are privacy, quiet, and minimal distractions. If you can find a place in your shared living space to get your work done, that’s all that matters. Some of the best office ideas for small spaces include: 

  • On a stair landing
  • In the kitchen
  • Under the stairs
  • In a spacious closet

Get creative and try to avoid high-traffic areas within your home. Determine how much space you need to get your job done. While you don’t want to feel trapped or confined during the day, utilizing a small space can actually help you to stay on track and focus, rather than allowing yourself to get distracted. 

With that in mind, try to avoid using your bedroom for an office space. Some people can make it work by clearing out a corner of the room. But, it can be extremely tempting to work from your bed itself. You want to be comfortable in your working environment. But, being too comfortable can make it hard to stay motivated. Additionally, avoid areas where your roommates might be watching television or talking throughout the day. 

Because working from home has become so popular, there are endless ideas you can use for inspiration online. Decide what works for you and what you need before you start designing an office space that fits that description. 

Set Working Hours

If your only option is to set up your home office in a “public” area of your home, set some ground rules with your roommates or family. Let them know that you’re making the best of what you’ve got, considering your circumstances. They need to know that during certain hours of the day, you’re “at work.” 

During those hours, they should respect you enough to leave you alone and let you work. While you can try to avoid areas like the living room where most people might congregate, any open area of your home that you choose can work as long as the people you live with are on board.  

Make sure you’re staying dedicated to those hours, too. It can help to develop a daily routine, just as you would if you were working in a traditional office setting. Try to wake up at the same time each day, work a set amount of hours, and finish at the same time, too. The more you can make your home office feel more like a functional workplace, the easier it will be to stay productive during the day and enjoy your time with the people you live with every evening. 

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