Meet you at the water cooler… working from home together as a married couple

Fifteen years ago it wasn’t uncommon for our eyes to meet on an occasional corridoor or canteen run. A shy hello, a blushing smile or even a flirtatious one liner was as far as we got until a drunken work night out, a first date and our fate sealed.

It’s been a decade and a half since we worked for the same organisation, and despite putting up with Dad Muddling Through working from home cramping my stay at home Mum style for a few years, 2020 has thrown us back into a shared work space again in a way we could never have predicted.

New beginnings

It didn’t start well, with working through lockdown creating the obvious child juggling, home schooling stress, but things turned a corner when we could access childcare, return to normal working hours, and most importantly, resign from that temporary part time secondment of being year R and 3 class teacher.

Since then, we have managed to really put working from home to the test and make our home environment work for us – literally.

Role reversal

Pre 2020, dropping the kids to the childminder was my role, en route to the office at 7.15. He would leave around the same time to get to the office in London for nine, whilst I headed in the opposite direction to my rural office hub for an 8 am start.

Pretty swiftly I realised now the tables had turned, that it made logistical sense for the morning drop to be made by him, so I could get started promptly and be done in time for pick up.

Oh how I smiled to myself the first time I watched him stood on the driveway begging the kids to JUST GET THEIR SHOES ON as they wandered off in the opposite direction.

My one off protest – an experimental morning declaring I was laying in bed until 7.45, whilst he made pack lunches backfired slightly – in conclusion… he needs to get up earlier.

Hot desk policy

When it came to home office set up, in those early days I was feeling pretty smug about claiming the box room office and girlying it up a bit with plants and a few splashes of pink. He reluctantly offered to take the top floor bedroom and create some work space in there.

I laughed on the other side of my face when his new desk arrived, making the roomy spacious loft room look positively decadent compared to my dingy cupboard.

In all honesty, I’m also kicking myself for being so opinionated about what office chair to go for – as I’m suddenly appreciating just how important the WFH ergonomics are.

Still, we can’t complain. With remote working being an option, we truly are able to pick any corner of the house and get on with our day in a way we are both very grateful for.

Cameo appearances

Long gone are the kids crashing our calls, but the sight of either one of us passing by each others calls is no longer novel. We have got to meet each others colleagues virtually, in a way we never would have before.

We have heard it all – the rants, the laughs, the sighs of desperation and the energy that each other invest into our working roles.

It’s also been super handy counselling each other through dilemmas and I.T. issues (me:him).

Fancy a brew?

It’s definitely your turn to make tea. Definitely. Well, maybe.

As much as I have grumbled about being lonely working from home, and complained that I miss the buzz of the workplace, I do feel very lucky to have the familiar sound of someone else working in the house – the occasional chat about how our day is going, and someone to stop and share a coffee run with.

I’ve delivered him a bagel when his calls have run over, and he has made me beans on toast which I’ve munched on mute, video off, during those unsociable lunchtime calls.

In these crazy times it’s those small acts of kindness which go a long way. We have truly shown we are in this together, and challenged the concept of what it would be like to work together again.

We have worked as a team and managed the logistics and challenges – me working to a hard stop to return to Mum duties, and him flexibly putting in the hours when needed to make things happen. We both fill our roles, and more, and give each other the space and respite we both need to mix it up and have down time.

Ultimately, despite stealing the broadband, and digs telling him to pipe down on his lary calls, he is a cool office buddy to have around. We’ve come a long way since hitting the pub for a couple of cheeky pints at lunch, but he still get’s my vote for the office hotty.

Which is lucky, as it looks like we are going to be here a while…


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