Having roommates is a great thing, seeing as how you get to split the rent, live with some of your best friends or, at very least, have someone to keep you company. However, in the age of telecommuters and remote workers, having roommates can also turn into an incredible nuisance, even a career obstacle that you’ll have to overcome one way or another. The noise that they create, social gatherings that they make in your apartment and even communication they try to establish may be unbearable from time to time. Therefore, you need to find a way to adapt. Here are four tips to help you do so.
1. Set some ground rules
The first thing you need to do is set some ground rules of living together. By this we don’t mean that you should be the one dictating terms while your roommate just nods their head and agrees to them. You need to sit down together and work these things out. Sure, this is your office but it’s also their apartment. So, while it’s fine that they shouldn’t have friends over when you’re working, it’s not fine to expect them to never bring their friends over. Nor is it fine for you to silence everyone outside of these hours. A true compromise leaves everyone equally satisfied or, at least, equally unsatisfied.
2. Pick the right work hours
The next item on this list is a direct continuation of the last one. Namely, when setting the schedule, you need to pick the right work hours and this is not as easy as you think. You can either try to make the schedule that will be the most agreeable with your roommate or you can make a schedule that envelops hours during which you’re the most productive. Keep in mind that these two may not overlap (unless you’re very lucky). Moreover, if you’re working with clients that are from another time-zone you might be forced to pick odd hours, yet, this too is a variable that your roommate has to be familiar with.
3. Equip yourself with adequate gear
Even if you manage to make an agreement with a roommate, there’s only so much they can do in order not to distract you. No matter how considerate they are or how much they love you, they can’t just cease to exist at your behest. The noises that come from the bathroom, kitchen, living room or bedroom might not even be voluntary and if the walls are thin, they’ll become a serious issue, sooner or later.
Fortunately, by getting some adequate equipment like quality headphones, you can minimize the noise created by these outside factors. In order to keep the place as simplistic/efficient as possible, you might even want to get wireless headphones. This can help you avoid the need of having to organize cables.
4. Make an actual office
The last thing you need to do is make an office within the apartment and actually work in it. This can be done even in the tiniest of apartments. Sure, a lot of people see working on a living room couch as one of the greatest privileges that come from telecommuting. Nevertheless, you can’t expect your roommate to tiptoe around you in the living room just because you can’t be bothered to drag yourself to the office. Moreover, making a real office will give you a boost in productivity, especially if you organize and soundproof the room, the right way around.
At the end of the day, you need to understand that your apartment is your roommate’s apartment, too, and that you working from home isn’t something that they have signed up for. This is your choice and even though cooperation should be a foundation of every successful living arrangement, you need to find a way to deal with it. When it comes to this, the above-listed four methods might definitely help. Needless to say, this, more or less, applies to kids and spouses as well, only with a couple of extra steps. This, nonetheless, is a story for another time.