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Quarantine got you stuck at home with roommates?

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By: Caroline Forrest
Apr 3, 2020 • 8 min read

Here’s what you can do.

WFH is the new norm.

We’re home, isolated from the rest of the world, under quarantine, for the foreseeable future. You’ve had the same conversations with your roommates for the last 14 days, and you’re about to lose your mind. 

I currently live with two roommates, and here is what we have found that helps! 

Set some time limits. 

We are all working from home during the quarantine, which means we are trying to be productive. Each of us has conference calls, meetings, and projects to work on. However, some of our schedules are different. I work from 10-7, whereas one of my roommates works from 9-5, and my other roommate works from 7-3. So when we’re done for the day, all we want is Netflix. If I’m still working, I don’t want to hear The Office theme song for the 800th time in the background. 

It’s important to set some time limits! 

“Hey ‘mates – I know you guys want to relax at the end of the day, but do you think we can wait until 7:30 to turn the TV on? Then we will all be able to be productive – I’ll even let you choose the first show. Thanks!” 

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. 

I love to sit on the couch and work – it gets me out of my room, and I can snuggle with my dogs! However, my roommate likes to have conference calls in the living room too. Stuck in the house with the same people for days, nay, weeks on end, can definitely have an impact on your relationship. If you set some boundaries and ground rules, then you can help quell any arguments that might come up before they happen. 

“Hey Beth, I know you like to take conference calls in the living room. I was thinking we could set up a meeting room for ourselves so that I can still work here while you’re on a conference call. We can set up the kitchen as our meeting room. I will take meetings in there too, so that we can still enjoy working in the living room together.” 

Communicate!

This tip is obvious, yet often forgotten, quarantine or not! If something is bothering you and you don’t talk about it, the other people will never know that it is bothering you. Get it out there and let the other person know that something is not going well, so that you can work on it together. Even if it is difficult at the moment, it will be a lot easier than moving your stuff out at the end of the month because you can’t stand when your roommate does something. 

Make sure to reciprocate, and respect the other person. Offer to do the same thing that you are asking them to do! It shows that you respect them, and want to make this work. 

“Hey Emma, I know that we are all pretty stressed out during this time. Do you mind playing your music a little bit more quietly, or using headphones? I’m happy to do the same, if my music bothers you! I really appreciate it, and I hope that we can get back to our offices soon!” 

Take time for yourself. 

I know how I feel after staring at the same four walls for hours on end during the quarantine, and it’s not always pleasant. Make sure to take some time for yourself, and change your scenery. Set up a small spot in your room to meditate or read for a half-hour during your lunch break. Let your roommate know that you’d like to have some alone time for a few minutes. I’m sure they will appreciate the alone time too! 

“Hey guys – I just wanted to let you know I’m going to go read for a little bit in my room. I’d love some alone time for a few minutes! I know it really helps me get through the workday – you should try it!”

Do a project together. 

You suddenly have new co-workers – your roommates, that you eat, sleep, breathe, and now work with. I have spent more time with my roommates in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years of living with them. We decided that we wanted to focus on something new that keeps us busy, that we can all do together. We have been painting, doing puzzles, and added to our fish tank! It’s been a great way to bond positively, and take our minds off of our current situation. 

“Hey, guys! I was thinking of doing a workout together – or maybe some yoga. Would you guys want to join? I’d like to do something that isn’t work or watching TV today!” 

I hope these tips are helpful, and that you are all staying safe and sane during the quarantine!

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