Living with a roommate whom you also work with can be a ton of fun. However, with all of the time you spend together, it is important to make sure the relationship doesn’t get too stressful. We spend a lot of time together as business owners who also share a personal life together. It took us time to find the proper boundaries and expectations. From our past experiences, we have some tips to help you keep a peaceful home and positive work environment.
Tip 1: Set expectations.
Almost every argument or fight can be traced back to a misunderstanding of intentions or motivations. So, instead of letting conflict just happen, and it will, we suggest making it a point to discuss upfront what is expected of both roommates. These expectations will be different for everyone, but it is worth asking yourself: Do you expect your home to be quiet and still, or full of friends and dinner parties? Do you expect your roommate to clean up the kitchen before work, or do you keep it pretty loose? These topics may seem minor now, but as the days at work and nights at home pass, they can become major issues. So talk about them upfront and be honest about your expectations. You might be surprised at what really matters to you or your roommate. For instance, Megan is someone who needs her own quiet space to work. On the other hand, Mike enjoys noise and ongoing conversation in his space to get things done. Discovering these differences can make all the difference.
Tip 2: Set boundaries between work and home.
When your work life and home life blend together, it can cause stress. All of a sudden, a work issue that isn’t resolved in the workplace can carry over into off time and cause perpetual stress. Therefore, we recommend setting hard boundaries between work time and off time. This is great for you individually, but extra important when you share both lives with a roommate. These boundaries should be a joint decision between you and your roommate and should be an expectation both of you set. These decisions will help you perform better at work while being more present with your roommate outside of work.
Tip 3: Have fun!
Living and working with your roommate can be a ton of fun! It’s likely you commute together and share many office inside jokes. This is a really unique relationship that may not always be present in your life, so enjoy it. Make a point to not take your roommate for granted and enjoy the time you spend together. Sometimes you need to be intentional about spending time together outside of work, and outside of your home or apartment.
No matter your situation, there is always a way to find a healthy balance between work and personal life with a roommate. Just remember to be open and honest with each other. And, above all things, it is important to be respectful of boundaries and to over-communicate your expectations to one another.