Pre-pandemic, telecommuting and flexi-hours are every office worker’s dream. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of skipping the morning rush hour crush to have a leisurely breakfast at home before starting the day in your pyjamas?

Well, thanks to Covid-19 and in a surreal twist of reality, most of us now have no choice but to work from home in a bid to stop the contagion. For many, especially couples and families, it’s a dream that might be closer to a nightmare. Working couples now find themselves jostling for space and time to complete work assignments, while those with school-going kids have the added responsibility of supervising offspring on home-based learning (HBL).

Whether you are an extended family or a newly-wed twosome, here are 3 helpful ways to reduce conflicts when you WFH:

1. Stick to a routine

Remember the routine you had before Covid-19? Keep to that but with some modifications such as later wake-up times (yay, more sleep!) and coordinated mealtimes. Not only will routines provide some much-needed structure to everyone’s day, they also offer reassuring predictability to a potentially stressful period in our lives.

Drawing boundaries between “home-time” and “office-time” (or “school-time” for the kids) sends an important signal to everyone in the household. It lets them know when is a good time to approach another family member and when to come back later.

2. Work out a schedule

Unlike routines which involve habits, schedules are deliberate plans. Being stuck at home together means turning into a two-man tag team tasked to run a tight ship!

Work out a roster that taps on each other’s strengths. If hubs prefers covering cooking duties, you can sew up the laundry load. Little ones need constant supervision? Work out a roster where one working parent is keeping an eye on the kids while the other is taking conference calls in the bedroom.

A planned schedule also means that important activities such as exercise and family-time are not neglected, all of which are necessary for good mental health!

Put it up at a prominent place at home so that all members of the household have access to it.

3. Carve out a Zen zone

No man’s an island, but sometimes you’ll need your own little island of calm to stay sane! With everyone living cheek by jowl 24/7 right now, it’s easy to rub each other the wrong way.

An easy solution? Find your own Zen zone. It could be your own corner of the apartment which you can retreat to when things get rough, or simply a fav spot on the dining table with a houseplant for company.

Alternatively, carve out a bit of me-time. Put on a face mask for a little DIY spa therapy after the kids have gone to bed or listen to your personal Spotify playlist as you fold the laundry. A little self-care goes a long way!