Make WFH with flatmates bearable

How To Not Lose the Plot With Your Flatmates WFH During COVID-19


  • Community
  • Workplace
April 01, 2020 Angela Barnett

Are you living with a partner or flatmates and suddenly finding yourself having to share the kitchen table but not the dishes?

We won’t pretend it’s a good time. With everyone at home all day the pile of dirty coffee cups goes up as fast as the pile of coffee beans goes down. The lounge is no longer a place for Netflix bingeing but squishing in way too many screens with boring things on them like Other People’s Spreadsheets. And now there are never any leftovers in the fridge for anyone to complain about as they’re eaten before lunch by the lucky sneak who got to them first.

We’re all figuring out what Working From Home (WHF) looks like together, but separately, but way too togetherly. We’ve pulled together three tips that we hope are helpful for you living and working with partners or flatmates and trying not to make voodoo dolls of them.

Use house cleaning apps

If there was ever a time to address gender equality when it comes to unpaid labour, which predominantly still falls on women regardless of the situation, then it’s right now as nobody has any excuses. Nobody’s commuting, being a party pants, always at work, or just never around to see all those unpaid jobs piling up because we’re all around. All the time. Using same loo. Many smart people suggest the best plan is talk first, then make a list together which keeps things objective but if this stuff was easy to talk about, we’d have talked it through and already have the solution and unpaid labour wouldn’t even be a term. We recommend trying to talk about it first, but if that doesn’t go so well then use tech to help by engaging an objective house cleaning app. These apps help everyone share the load and also keep everyone accountable.

Here are seven to use.

Adopt an imaginary co-worker

This is our favourite tip for not getting super peeved at everyone (no matter how hard those house-cleaning apps work for you). Adopt an imaginary co-worker to blame things on. We all need some humour to get through this but can we suggest the coworker is not always a woman (Donald or Boris perhaps?)

And finally, this article by Vice has a really sharp idea: treat your flatmates or partner like a co-worker during the day. That means you respectively wear headphones when you’re in meetings, you don’t slob around the place and spread your mess everywhere, you get dressed to go and hang in the same workspace with them (goodbye pyjamas), you let them know in advance when you’re planning on using meeting rooms, you have a shared calendar of events i.e. if you need the best wifi in the house for a zoom meeting and it happens to be in the lounge, and you make coffee for everyone as a show of goodwill in the morning. We also recommend having a WFH Slack channel where you can make jokes or talk throughout the day but rather than interrupting each other, it’s there for when anyone needs a breather to dive into it.

Then, once you’ve finished your workday you can go back to however you normally behave as flatmates or partners—ignoring each other, partying together, fighting over what to watch, moaning about each others’ cooking.



mental health is just as important as washing hands to stay safe. Clearhead is an app to help with wellbeing and they have put together an option for anxiety for COVID-19 too.

The Mental Health site is also a good place for tips.

Share :

Other stories you might like