Like many others, I have to work from home at the moment. However, one difference is that I have to share my office/living room with my partner who is a solicitor. She works for a different firm so this has created an interesting dynamic in the flat.
We have maintained our usual morning routine as if we were physically going to work. Our alarm goes off at 7am and we both ignore it until 7.15am, as usual. My partner then gets up and starts her morning routine. Around 15 minutes later she then yells at me from the kitchen to get up and then my day starts too.
I share an office at our Bath Street offices with two other colleagues so I think I know how to be a good office sharer. I know to be quiet when they are on the phone, not to annoy them when they trying to write and always offer a cup of tea and coffee when I go to the office kitchen. A lot of these skills have been transferable to my new home office but I have had to learn some new ones too.
We have had to make a compromise in regards to phone calls, be them with colleagues or clients. If one of us gets such a call, the other has to leave the room. My partner is working from a laptop and I am working from a PC, so unfortunately it is usually my partner who has to leave the room as she is able to take the laptop with her. This is to ensure that we are both able to uphold confidentiality for our clients and ensures that private details are kept that way. I am sure that having to work from our bedroom when I get a call is something my partner is definitely not used to in her own office.
In addition to this, we have had to compromise on when we take our lunch breaks. I prefer to take a later lunch so for now we have agreed to both take lunch at 1pm. This is earlier than I would take lunch and later than my partner would take lunch which means that my afternoon does feel longer and my partner is often hangry by the time lunchtime comes around. I do also tend to work later into the evening than my partner however trying to work with Friends on in the background is not really practical. For now, we have agreed to finish work at 6pm unless there are any urgent deadlines that need to be dealt with.
One positive thing to come from this is that we can turn to each other for advice and help on basic legal matters such court rules and procedure. This has proved helpful during this difficult time as the different courts currently have different rules so it is nice to be able to run things past each other.
Having to work at home and then stay at home instead of going out has proved difficult at certain points. I have particular found my colleague Emma’s blog regarding looking after your mental health during the lockdown particularly useful. I would suggest clicking here and giving it a read.
To conclude, while having to share my home office/living room with my partner has proved challenging at points and has involved some compromises, I am still able to provide all clients with the same level of service and professionalism that I would offer if I was working from the office. It makes it even more worthwhile when I realise that working from home is keeping me, my family and the general public a lot safer.