Are there now two of you working from home in some amount of shared space? Have you started working through the issues that have popped up?

Is this a cool new future emerging for you two, or a case for one of you moving to a tent in the backyard?

We’ve been there!

Apollo Coaching & Consulting and Athena Executive Services, Inc decided to jointly author a few blogs on this topic. WHY? The owners of each of them are us, John Barron and Gina Cotner. I’m Gina, the founder and CEO of Athena and I’m going to create and share this first blog with you.

We are two business owners who have worked from home for years running their firms, under one roof. And this little Mt. Olympus is not a big house. We live in a two-bedroom condo. When we moved in, we converted the dining room to one office and the second bedroom to the other office.

We can honestly say, we’ve been working together in close quarters for years and it has worked really well! For the most part, we have loved it.

John is a business coach walking around the condo talking to clients throughout the day. Easily 10,000 steps per day for him. I don’t know how he does it. But he’s a thinker who likes to walk and think, and walk and coach, and periodically stops back by his standing desk or his white board to capture a few notes and keeps walking.

I usually only have one or two calls or video conferences each day. We’ve never coordinated our schedules to make sure that we don’t both schedule calls at the same time. Sometimes his voice just fades into the background for me, sometimes, I say to myself, “Get your voice out of my head already!” When those moments come or when I need to be alone in quiet, I go into our bedroom. Under the window we installed a small pop-up platform that I can raise up and work from for a few hours if I want to. While many would say to NEVER work in the bedroom, it really works for me and the view is terrific. Then when I’m done working, I make sure to move any “office” items back to my office space (laptop, phone, coffee) so that there’s no signs of “work” in the bedroom.

 

Pro Tips:

  • We have very little paper. We just need our laptop when we’re working or speaking with someone. We do have files, but rarely need to get into them.
  • We keep our environment (the whole condo) neat. When you don’t have a lot of space, a little mess can soon make 50% of your space annoying. We do our best to get everything back where it belongs when we’re done using it or dealing with it (slippers, scissors, the mail, my yoga mat)
  • We have a clear division of labor in our home. We’re clear who deals with trash, laundry, plant watering, bed making, cooking, dishes, morning coffee, etc. So, we’re never waiting around for the other one to “handle that”.
  • This one took us a while to learn – We ask each other if it’s ok to talk to them before we start talking to them. We are still practicing this. If John starts talking to me out of the blue and doesn’t know I’m deep in thought writing a blog, he doesn’t know I’m not listening, and I’m not interested in being interrupted. Truth is I’m worse than him about this! So, we say something to each other like, “Hey, can I share something with you now?” or “Can you tell me when you’re interruptible next?”

 

What are you discovering as new practices in working from home? What’s working? What’s not working as well as you had hoped?