Jer and I have worked from home together for over a year now. But the transition from me, working from home alone for five years, to suddenly having someone in my space all day, took a minute.
Here are a few conversations that helped the transition:
* Staring into space means I’m thinking, not that I’m open for conversation. Refilling my water glass is the same. As is pacing the backyard.
* Yes, it’s fine that I can’t have the TV in the background anymore because you’re in the living room. Maybe I’ll play old Office episodes on my phone next to me.
* This is how I work. I move from room to room. I move outside. I take all my stuff with me. It’s not how you work, and that’s cool. You do you.
A year later, I absolutely love sharing our space.
Things I learned that I didn’t expect:
*I love having a “co-worker” who is completely unconnected from my job, who I can be vulnerable with, who will talk through work problems with me. We find solutions together.
*I like making two salads or cutting up two apples and sharing one, and I like when a salad or apple appears on my desk for me.
*His music doesn’t annoy me as much as it did at the start, and I really love that he sings during the day. It makes my day happier.
*I like sharing lunch a few days a week and talking about work. We prop each other up.
*When I want to disappear into my own head, I put on headphones. He does the same.
*When I have a very important meeting, I let him know. During that hour, he is quick to attend to any dogs barking, delivery people knocking, etc. We exchange this service when it matters.
I’m an introvert, and I don’t often miss people, but I underestimated how much I would like having a non-co-worker co-worker next to me. Especially one that I chose, who I happen to like, who makes me laugh every day.
So, if you’re navigating these waters for the first time, good luck! Have some conversations. Establish boundaries. And expect good things to come!