SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News)- WFH, it’s an acronym we’ve become quite familiar with recently. Although “working from home” isn’t exactly anything new, COVID-19 has caused an uptick in the number of workers who are doing their jobs in-home.

The pandemic has given families the chance to spend more time with each other and reconnect in new ways. However, when it comes to working from home…a place that’s normally an escape from our places of employment, it could pose as a challenge for married couples.

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Depending on a couple’s specific situation, it may determine the most appropriate way to adjust to the transition. ABC4 reached out to relationship coach Val Baldwin on some helpful tips for those couples who are figuring out the best way to help this process run as smoothly as possible. Baldwin says “it’s a matter of understanding your partner’s needs, and make sure you’re not being disrespectful when they are working.”

With COVID-19 forcing many companies forced to furlough or layoff employees it’s possible one partner may have more free time than their spouse, who’s now working from home. In this situation it’s best not to assume you know what the working partner wants or needs while on the job.

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Val Baldwin says “surprising them with lunch or a drink while they’re in the middle of working on a project, or mistakenly interrupting an important conference call may lead to hurt feelings.”

Baldwin recommends going over the following day’s work agenda the night before. This puts everything “out in the open” and gives everyone a sense of what the upcoming day looks like. Typically some days will be less busy than others which hopefully leads to some possible flexibility day-to-day. Perhaps the flexibility allows some extra time in the day to grab lunch with their spouse and family.

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Baldwin also tells ABC4 couples should balance work and making sure they don’t completely ignore their partner, it’s very important to maintain that one on one time. “Don’t assume just because you’re at home more and seeing your partner more that date nights and alone time isn’t needed anymore,” she said. “Try and have some fun things planned for non-work hours to do as a couple and a family.”

Speaking of family, if one or both spouses are working while children are in the home…who’s watching over them? Val Baldwin says in this situation couples should agree on who’s doing what and when. Depending on the ages of the child(ren) and if both parents are working from home the tasks of caring for the kids could be equally divided.

In a scenario where one partner is working while the other isn’t, Baldwin says the non-working parent should make sure the children are fed and taken care of. However, it’s important for the working partner to pitch in on caring for the children after their workday is done so no one partner feels overwhelmed.  

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Ultimately, communication is critical and each partner should respect the one another’s wants, needs and accommodations while working in the home.

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