At an already tense time, sharing a space with others – whether flatmates or family – can become challenging. As the Debrett’s team makes the move to remote working, our senior business development manager Dan Scothern shares some thoughts on how to approach staying at home so that your relationships survive and thrive:
1. Respect people’s space – Dominating communal spaces or monopolising particular items (such as the TV or phone) is likely to chip away at any healthy household dynamics. If more than one of you are working from home, it’s best to assign individual workspaces and perhaps implement additional measures so that the house can operate as normally as possible.
2. Preserve others’ privacy – Extended periods of social interaction (even before social distancing) can be tiring, and as much as it is important to support each other, friends, housemates and partners should still be allowed to have their expected level of privacy and downtime. If your housemate decides to work in their bedroom for a morning instead of sharing the living room with you, it’s (probably) nothing personal – more likely, they’re just taking some time for themselves.
3. Be considerate – For those working from home, consideration could be as simple as making yourself scarce for half and hour while your housemate takes an important video call, or offering to make your partner a cup of tea. It’s important to remember compassion too – especially if those you live with are separated from loved ones or feeling anxious.
4. Be understanding – This is uncharted territory for all of us, and there will be times where tensions run high and patience wears thin. Though emotions may be close to the surface, understand that different people will react in different ways, so let minor gripes (like a housemate using the last drop of milk) go. Like all things, “this too shall pass”, and if we’re able to get through this crisis without tearing each others’ heads off, our friendships and relationships will be stronger for it.
5. Communicate – Whether it’s a family or a friendship group, the majority of issues can be avoided (or certainly diluted) by simply communicating. That’s not to say that all tact goes out of the window, but bottling up your frustrations will only exacerbate them. Try to avoid being passive and deal with any issues head-on and as they arise, and you should be fine.