my husband and I share a home office — how do we make this work?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

Has anyone successfully shared a home office (permanently) with their spouse/roommate/partner/etc and if so, what are your tips for success?

My husband and I both work from home 75% of the time and have a three-bedroom house (currently occupied by our bedroom and our two offices). We are expecting our first child soon, and our current plan for once everyone goes back to work is for the smallest bedroom (now my husband’s office) to become the baby’s room and to move his desk into my office, which is much larger.

I am nervous about the feasibility of sharing an office, he doesn’t think it will be a big deal. To be honest, he only works from his office now when he has calls (a big part of the day) and moves around the house the rest of the day, but I spend most of the day at my desk and have a fair amount of calls myself. It’s true I used to work in an open office and had no problems with it (got my trusty noise cancelling headphones), but for some reason this feels different. Obviously we would arrange the desks so we’re not visible in each other’s cameras. I’m just wondering if there is something huge we are overlooking.

If it doesn’t work out, we’ll just try something else, no big deal, but this would be the most convenient so if anyone has tips for success I’d love to hear them.


{ 356 comments… read them below }

  1. VermiciousKnid*

    How would you feel about investing in a room-dividing screen? My husband and I have talked about this a lot because we’ll have to make a similar call if we have a second kid. That was a solution we both liked. It wouldn’t cancel out the noise, but it’s easier to ignore each other – and focus with headphones on – if we can’t see each other…

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      The This Old House crew taught me that even though a fence or row of bushes makes very little difference in the noise from the road as measured using engineering tools, it has a big impact on our perception of the noise.

    2. Butterfly Counter*

      My advice was similar. My husband and I share an office and we are out of each other’s lines of sight. It’s pretty rare that we both work from home at the same time in the office, but even when we’re just playing around on the internet separately, it’s doable. He wears noise-cancelling headphones and I’m okay with focusing with noise around me most of the time.

      Have systems that are fair about who makes coffee and/or tea. Treat each other as professionals and coworkers when you’re working. (And sometimes steal a kiss when you both have a break. It feels clandestine. :D)

      1. Purpleshark*

        I think they’re going to still need to hear the baby. So I am unsure if they can use noise-cancelling headphones. Unless the plan is for the baby to be in daycare?

        1. LawLady*

          The baby is almost certainly going to be in daycare during the day. Trying to work without childcare is close to impossible and is a whole question in itself. I think if that’s what they meant, Alison’s first response would have been that working full time from home without childcare isn’t feasible.

            1. Ally McBeal*

              If they’re video calls, a nursery usually won’t look professional enough for that, but I agree it’s a great solution for regular phone calls.

              1. e271828*

                A folded plain backdrop screen in the nursery, deployed as needed, can provide an instant professional background.

              2. Clisby*

                There’s no need to have a nursery all duded up with special decorating. All a nursery needs is a crib shoved against a wall. Just adjust desk/camera so crib isn’t visible.

              3. Itsa Me, Mario*

                I think using the nursery is a great idea, with one caveat that is going to have to appeal to LW and partner to work out.

                I think they should leave a corner of the nursery for a WFH setup, and keep that corner relatively “professional” or at least not explicitly babyish.

                Most babies don’t even sleep in their own nursery for most of the first year of life. Which makes it a great place to continue to WFH or at least take calls in the intervening time. Even beyond that point, once they have a 1-2 year old, it should be fairly easy to keep the decor simple in one corner for “plausible deniability” purposes on Zoom calls.

                Babies are not Martha Stewart. They aren’t going to look around and be like “Why didn’t you continue the elephant motif into that part of the room?” Hell, most kids under 4-5 don’t have any particular expectation about their room and don’t have a concept that it is supposed to be for their exclusive use. I have a 5 year old and will take an occasional voice-only call from his room if I’m feeling stir crazy or just want to lounge on his “Nugget” which has wedge pillows that offer great lumbar support.

                Most nursery decor is for the parents, not the child.

                1. Clisby*

                  Yep – I shared a bedroom with my younger sister and brother until I was 8. The other 2 kids were in my parents’ room. None of us grew up scarred. (I loved having sister and brother in the same room – we’d talk to each other after lights out, and sometimes get up and play games (as long as we weren’t bothering my parents, we could probably have been running a meth lab.) I mean, we were 2 parents and 5 kids in a 3-bedroom house, and one bedroom was entirely reserved for guests. I was 15 or 16 before I got my own room, and that was only by promising I wouldn’t complain about vacating it if a guest needed it. Babies just don’t need their own space.

                2. Lou*

                  100% agree with nursery decor is for the parents. I would not hesitate to use the baby’s room, especially if the baby is not going to be there. Any “unprofessional” background can be blurred out / replaced by most virtual meeting platforms, and in case not, you can put a physical backdrop or prop behind.

                  In case the parents do decide to share the same office, I would imagine that investing in good sound blocking headphones / mic will be really good.
                  I currently work on a team that is hybrid 50%, and our office has a construction site around it at the moment, and I’m so amazed at how fantastic these headphones can be! In the past week, I have had people on the other end mention, “Oh, I have to close the window because the construction is so loud right now”, and literally NO ONE on the call heard. (That was Teams noise cancelling! Not even the headphones.)

                  I wish them all the best!

              4. Betty*

                This is what “blur” and virtual backgrounds are for. At this point there’s a whole range of attractive images of rooms that you can substitute for your actual space so no one ever has to know if you’re in a real office, home office, library work room, etc. (especially if you pick one and leave it on all the time). I think the biggest concern would be making sure the setup has decent lighting conditions.

                But I totally agree that being in different rooms for simultaneous calls is crucial for everyone’s sanity.

                1. amoeba*

                  Yup, surprised this wasn’t the first thing that came up – virtual backgrounds are absolutely the norm where I work, and they seem to work really well nowadays – I hardly see any of the weird “floating head” effects or background popping through that seemed more common a few years ago!

                2. Alexander Graham Yell*

                  Yep. My company’s marketing department created some branded virtual backgrounds, and I use them whether I’m in the office or at home. Regardless of the branding, picking a background and sticking with it regardless of where you are means if (for whatever reason) you need to take a call from a different location you don’t have to worry about quickly arranging the space to look professional. It’s already done AND what people expect to see.

                3. Betty*

                  I will add that I had an issue recently where I had to take a call in a room with very warm and dim lighting, and wound up looking oddly orange in contrast to my usual cool white background, but switching to “blur” was fine.

              5. Also-ADHD*

                Everyone where I work uses the Zoom background so I have no idea what room they’re in or what it looks like frankly.

            2. BubbleTea*

              This was my solution when my son and I lived in two rooms in a family member’s house – he slept there at night, I worked there in the day. Sometimes there was a teddy in the camera line but blurring the video background dealt with that. The only time it got tricky was when he was home sick from nursery and my mum was taking care of him.

            3. AbruptPenguin*

              My guest room-turned-baby’s room was my office for over a year. It was fine! I’m on Zoom all day but I use a virtual background or blur my background. This might be a good space for the husband to use, since he’s not using the office for the most of the day.

        2. Heather*

          if there’s such a thing as headphones capable of cancelling out a crying baby I need to upgrade mine before my next flight…

          1. Love to WFH*

            “Noise cancelling” headphones are awesome for mechanical noise on a regular cadence, like heavy machinery.
            They are terrible for voices of any kind!

            1. UTAtty*

              I share an office with my partner, both on multiple calls per day, and the type of noise cancelling headphones is key here to making it work. Even the most high caliber don’t necessarily cancel nearby voices (I’m looking at you Sony MX5s). Instead, we have the Jabra Evolve2 75s. They are pricey, but worth it, and people I’m on calls with cannot hear my partner talking in his meetings, and vice versa.

              1. Phryne*

                Noise cancelling is about you not hearing noise in your surroundings though. People on the other side of your connection not hearing surrounding voices in your room is not so much about the noise cancelling as it is about the microphone. If you have a headset with a microphone that is close to your mouth, it is probably very directional in what sound it captures, whereas a microphone on eg a laptop that was made to be some way away from your face tends to pick up sound much more broadly.
                (So a good tip is to use a headset with a mike in front of your face rather than one standing further away or clipped on your chest)

    3. Homeward bound*

      A kallax bookcase works for this purpose too. We have an open concept downstairs with an office and living room area, and use a kallax in between as a room divider + shelving.

      1. bripops*

        They also make a really nice background for video calls! My fiancée and I are in a similar situation (700sqft 1br apartment with a large living area and small sunroom) and one of our desks is set up in a part of the living area that’s sectioned off by a 6×6 bookshelf that’s LOADED with books, and we deliberately put the cool-looking ones on the shelves that are visible on camera.

        For what it’s worth OP, we had similar concerns when I started working remotely but have made it work with very minimal difficulty. We bounce around to different parts of the apartment but generally work within 10 feet of each other, and with headphones it’s never been a problem. We tend to give each other a heads up before a call (“I have a meeting in 15 minutes, it’s client-facing” or “about to hop on a call with my boss, it’s low-stakes and should be short,” that kind of thing) so the other has a chance to flag if they’ll also be on a call and we can coordinate if necessary. My fiancée has ADHD and is very sensitive to background noise, but she has fancy noise-cancelling headphones and often can’t even tell if I’m trying to get her attention to ask her something lol. We’ve considered the acoustic panels that go right on your desk but our calls don’t overlap enough to be worth it. They’re cheap though (usually under $75 from Amazon) and I have friends who swear by them.

      2. bripops*

        They also make very cool backgrounds for video calls! My fiancée and I are in a similar situation (700sqft 1br apartment with a large living area and small sunroom) and set up one of the desks in a part of the living area that’s sectioned off by a 6×6 bookshelf that’s loaded with books facing both directions, which honestly also help muffle noise. We deliberately put our coolest-looking books on the shelves that are visible on camera and it looks awesome as a backdrop.

        For what it’s worth OP, we were also really worried when I started working remotely, but we’ve made it work without a problem. We bounce around the apartment a lot but generally work within 10 feet of each other and with headphones it’s totally doable. We tend to give each other a heads up if we have a call (“I have a call in 15 minutes, it’s client-facing so my camera will be on” or “about to hop on a call with my boss, it’s low-stakes and should be short) so that we can coordinate if necessary but that’s really all it takes. My fiancée has ADHD and is really sensitive to background noise, but she has heavy-duty headphones and often can’t even tell when I’m trying to get her attention lol. We’ve also considered the acoustic panels that can go right on the desk (usually less than $75 on Amazon) but our calls don’t overlap enough that we’ve felt the need. I have friends who swear by them though!

      3. Rebecca*

        Second the Kallax bookshelves.

        We are in a 3 bedroom apartment with a 9 year old – he gets the 3rd bedroom. The people suggesting that the baby can be in the parents’ bedroom are correct for now, but it’s just kicking the can down the road.

        We have a kallax bookshelf between us and it basically means that we each have our own space, once we’re at our desks we can’t see each other at all. I really have an illusion of being alone, and we don’t have to worry about camera angles. That bookshelf is my background. It’s open from both sides and wide, so each of us has a useable bookshelf, and half a room to set up as we like.

        It does nothing for noise, but with headphones, you’d be suprised how much it can help to not be able to see a person.

        1. working from my bedroom right now*

          Another alternative is to work out of your own bedroom! That’s how my husband and I found a space for each of us to work from home and not be in the kids’ rooms (once they aren’t in cribs, the cords become a problem especially with toddlers).

      4. iglwif*

        We have 3 KALLAX bookcases (2 in the living room, acting as an entertainment/storage unit; 1 in my kiddo’s room / my office, acting as a bookshelf & general storage space), and they are my favourite piece of furniture. They’re so versatile! And sleek! And multipurpose! And can look really classy if you fill the visible parts with books and attractive baskets/bins!

        We don’t use either one as a room divider currently but we could and I like having that option.

      5. Rock Prof*

        We’ve also used a 4×4 Expedit (the pre-kallax shelves) as a divider. It really works well for that.

      6. Not Totally Subclinical*

        Kallax is great for this. My office is in my bedroom, and the Kallax makes a divider between the sleeping part of the room and the working part.

    4. TootsNYC*

      if the room will serve double duty for a while, then a row of bookcases might be a great divider. More expensive, and not moveable, but it would provide storage, and could be repurposed against a wall if they weren’t needed.

        1. Betty*

          With a baby who will turn into a potential furniture-puller/climber in the next couple years, I would strongly advise choosing one that’s specifically intended as a freestanding room divider– I’m almost certain that Billy is intended to be wall-anchored for safety (hence all the upthread Kallax recommendations)

          1. allathian*

            Yes, this. Kallax is specifically intended as a room divider, whereas Billy should be anchored to the wall. My sister’s childfree and her Billy shelves are anchored to the wall, but it’s absolutely essential if you have a mobile kid who might be interested in climbing it in the house.

            1. amoeba*

              I mean, mine aren’t anchored to the walls but even without children, free-standing would not be a good option! They’re not very stable and also, the “back wall” is basically just cardboard, so it would look quite bad from the back.

              However, I could possibly imagine (and believe I’ve seen) two of them back to back, maybe fixed to one wall on the side for extra stability…

          2. fantomina*

            yup, I tried to wall off a WFH corner of my bedroom early pandemic using Billy book cases, and they swayed in the breeze when I walked past. The Kallax are deep enough that they are safely free-standing, but the downside is that they eat into the footprint of the room pretty significantly. I had my (small) second bedroom in my current apartment divided into my sewing space and my WFH space and it made both so cramped as to be difficult to use

    5. whocanpickone*

      We have a room divider on wheels that has a whiteboard on one side and folds up. It’s fantastic, and easy to put in place when one of us has a video call.

  2. Work-From-Home-er*

    Is there a possibility of your husband working from the bedroom since he seems to have fewer calls? He could blur the background or use a virtual one if having a bed in sight would be a problem.

    1. Anon this time*

      Me and my spouse tried this for a year. The mental health impact of having work where he slept was NOT worth the effort. It turned into sleepless nights, an inability to relax, and just an added weight of stress and mental fatigue, which permeated through all aspects of life.

      In our case, we couldn’t share an office because he has a very HIPAA-related job which keeps him on the phone all the time (telehealth), so we ultimately had to choose to either move out of our 2-bedroom home or have one of us work outside of the house.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Giving this a firm second. I use my personal office where I do creative stuff as my WFM home space (WFM came second) and it is difficult to make that mental adjustment. I literally take my work laptop and put it in a box in my living room at the end of the day just so I can mentally reclaim the space as a creative space and not a working space. I am meeting with limited success.

        If I had to work out of my bedroom–oh god, the horror of just thinking about it. Bedrooms are for sleep and sex and that’s it.

        1. Anon this time*

          I have the same set-up now; my workspace is also my homework space for my graduate program, my spare room where I sometimes nap on the daybed, and my creative/reading space.

          I have a long work desk with my laptop on it, just enough space in behind it for my office chair, and a sheer white curtain in front of it, so that my zoom background is the wall behind me. It’s reminiscent of a galley kitchen. My home computer is on a separate, matching desk on the other side of the curtain, with another office chair there. With the curtain, I still get light from the room and my windows, but I absolutely cannot see any of my workspace from about 75% of the room, and I can barely see anything in my room as I work. This has helped immensely as it feels like two separate spaces. YMMV, especially in a smaller room, but I highly recommend it.

          1. Shoryl*

            my wife and I WFH about 3 feet apart, 2 days a week; and the biggest problem we face is when we both need to take calls and share screens. having read a few of the comments, it seems like a room screen or bookcase might give you at least the needed illusion of privacy.

          2. Plate of Wings*

            I’m taking notes! My WFH setup is in the tiniest corner possible of my craft/painting/sewing room but I would love it to be more… out of sight.

          3. AMT*

            I did something similar. My home office is in the bedroom, but it’s divided in a way that essentially makes the office a separate “room” that I don’t use unless I’m working. It doesn’t feel like I’m sleeping in my office. It’s more like I’m sleeping in a room next to my office.

            1. fantomina*

              I tried a few different configurations of having my WFH set up walled off using Kallaxes in my bedroom early pandemic, and I had to have my bed positioned so I couldn’t even see the Kallaxes or else I would be up at night thinking about work. It was so horrible that I eventually moved up 2 floors into an apartment with the exact same square footage divided into 2 bedrooms. the bedrooms are tiny, but separated by a hallway and it’s so much better for my mental health.

              1. fantomina*

                *note: I am a very anxious person with a ton of my stress located around work/perfectionism and I have almost no work-life balance. So the folks saying they’ve done WFH in their bedrooms for years, I’m imagining, have a somewhat healthier relationship to work than I do?

        2. Michelle Smith*

          It depends on the person I guess. I have worked out of my “bedroom” for several years now with no problem. However, I don’t have a choice – I can’t afford a one-bedroom apartment so I’m in a studio. I eat, sleep, watch TV, and yes, work, all in the same room.

          1. Beth*

            I’m also working remotely out of my studio. My desk is in the kitchen area (which doesn’t have a door but sort of feels like a separate room due to the layout of the space) but I mostly only use it for meetings; the rest of the time I’m on my couch in the living/sleeping/everything else area.

            I haven’t found that it causes issues for me when I’m sleeping–I don’t work from bed and I don’t sleep on my desk, and that’s enough separation to function. But I do find that I have to get out of my house for the non-work, non-sleep hours. If my ‘fun’ time is watching TV on the couch, it only takes like a day for me to feel like I’m entirely cut off from the world and haven’t left my room in decades. So I keep my off time pretty packed with social events, time at friends’ houses, walks, coffee shop outings, etc.

          2. House On The Rock*

            My spouse actually enjoys working while lounging in either our bed or our guest bed. He says it makes his work (database analytics) feel less like a chore and more like a fun thing he’s noodling on during the day. This is alien to me, but my job is mostly sitting in virtual meetings with staff, customers, and organizational leadership…and I definitely don’t want those people anywhere near my bed!

        3. TootsNYC*

          I literally take my work laptop and put it in a box in my living room at the end of the day

          I work in my bedroom and inadvertendly created a ritual similar to this. I don’t have a desk in there (well, we do, but it’s got crap on it), so I got a big tray-table-style folding table and set it up in a wide spot every morning, and pull the spare dining chair (which we started using as a desk chair when that broke and we were too lazy to get a new one right away) over to sit on.

          At the end of the day, I have to put the table away, and so my laptop goes in a drawer too.

      2. iglwif*

        I think this is a YMMV situation, because a lot of people have combined office/bedroom or bedroom/living room setups and make it work okay.

        I personally dislike working from the bed or couch because I need my 2nd monitor and a nice firm chair; my spouse, OTOH, works from the bed or couch preferentially, even though there’s now a perfectly good desk and proper desk chair in the living room.

        Early in the pandemic we were both trying to work at the kitchen table–already my default workspace–while our child did online school in her bedroom (the one that’s now my office except when she’s visiting). That did not work at *all* because we inevitably ended up chatting instead of working and/or both having Zoom calls at the same time.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      While it’s not the same thing, I worked from my bedroom during covid with zero issues and I always do things like lesson planning in my room.

      And my brother is remote about 50% of the time and works from his bedroom. He even has it partially decorated with work stuff. I can definitely see that not working for everybody, but it seems to work for him.

      1. Weaponized Pumpkin*

        It depends on the person for sure. For years I worked out of my bedroom — which worked because it was large, I wouldn’t try that with my small bedroom today — and it didn’t bother me at all to work and sleep in the same space! I’ve worked from home for 20 years and am not bothered by work/home bleeding together. However, I find it extremely distracting if I can hear someone else talking on calls.

      2. Em*

        I work from my bedroom, but all my work stuff (docking station, laptop, headphones) gets stowed away after work ends. I already had a great desk, monitor, chair, all of it with good “my stuff” vibes. Sitting at my desk where I’ve spent countless hours enjoying RDR2, Skyrim, the Sims, where I sew, craft etc, looking at my own decorations rather than dumb corporate branded freebie mugs, pens, stress balls is a way more relaxing work experience than being in a noisy, distracting, impersonal open concept office. But I get that it could be “tainted” by work for some people, and it reminds me to be grateful that my job isn’t mega stressful!

    3. Double A*

      I work from home and I have my office in our bedroom and it’s not a problem for me. Once my day is done, I turn off my computer and don’t think about work because I’m too busy parenting.

      This is a YMMV situation for sure. But if the husband moves around the house a lot anyway, a set up in the bedroom might work well. It depends on your temperament and your space, as well. We have a pretty huge master bedroom so it easy to have a defined office space.

    4. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      This is what my partner and I do! We are in a 550sqft 1-bed apartment. The early days of COVID, we were both set up on a single long desk in the living room, but my job was COVID research stuff so it turned into 8-hrs of meetings daily for a while, and it made it hard for him to take meetings. Since then, one of us has been in the bedroom, and one in the living room (swapping as circumstances dictate).

      In many ways I prefer when my station is the bedroom one, because when work is done I can go into the living room, and not see my desk or piles of post-its. When I go to bed, I’m asleep, so it doesn’t matter that my desk is less than a metre away…and if I can’t sleep because of work stress, that will be true regardless of whether my desk is beside me, in the next room, or 11km away at work. I think it’s worth trying out, and remembering that we humans are far more adaptable than we like to believe.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I think this is a fair comment. My office is open to the rest of the house (maybe 1 call per week) and spouse has a door (multiple calls per day). If I need a door as an exception, I can use a bedroom for that short period.

    5. Sassaleigh*

      To balance some of the “it’ll be terrible for your mental state” experiences: I moved my desk into my room when a friend rented out my second bedroom/office, and I’ve liked the switch to the extent that I haven’t moved my setup back after the friend left! It makes the mental hurdle of starting work lower, and also makes coming back from little lay-down breaks easier.

    6. kiki*

      I know it doesn’t work well for some people, but this is how my work is set up and I’m fine with working from my bedroom… for the most part. The biggest thing for me isn’t that my bedroom and office share the same space– it’s that I need to be super diligent about actually taking the time to leave my apartment each day.

    7. Staja*

      I also very much wanted to avoid working from any of my living areas. My partner did about a year of WFH from our dining room table and I have set up in the loft, since I’m permanently home.

      We also have a dedicated home office. I was set up there at the beginning of the pandemic, but went back to school 9/2020. I moved spaces, because I didn’t want to do 9 hours at work, then 4+ hours doing school at the same desk in the same room every day. I never moved back to the office, because I need the separation.

    8. A nonny mpuse*

      We had this exact situation. Baby taking a bedroom, 2 WFH—sharing an office didn’t work. I work in the bedroom, there haven’t been any problems for me personally.

  3. municipal worker*

    What most families actually find most convenient would be to have the baby in the bedroom and maintain the two separate offices until the baby absolutely needs to be moved into her own room.

    1. VermiciousKnid*

      Yeahhh but that can come faster than you think. Our kid was in our bedroom a grand total of about 10 days before we moved him into his nursery. He didn’t sleep well in the same room as us, we turned his nursery into the Big Brother house so we could watch him from multiple angles, and we all slept much better.

        1. TCPA*

          Mileage definitely varies…my daughter is almost three years old and still sleeps in our bed with us! My office is in our guest room. The arrangement works out well for our family, but it of course looks different for everyone and is often not fully figured out until after baby arrives and each family decides what is best for them :)

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Just adding too that it is infinitely easier to get a baby’s room ready before they get here. And it’s always less stressful to have something ready before you need it, especially if you’d have to juggle having an infant at the same time.

        Plus even if the baby isn’t sleeping in the room, you might still be using it. Our baby slept in a bassinet in our room for the first 4-5 months, but we still used their room for changing and nursing. And we kept all of their clothes/stuff in there too.

        But a potential in between is to get the baby’s room ready and then put a small desk in there for now or just work sitting in the glider. I’ve definitely taken meetings from my baby’s room (not while they’re in there of course) – it’s quiet and the chair is so comfy!

        1. Miss Thymia*

          I second this. We definitely had the baby room set up and would use it for changes, getting dressed, etc… even though they were sleeping elsewhere the first few months. But it could definitely do double-duty as your husband’s office if necessary, considering he uses that dedicated space only a portion of the time.

          But I do think the comments about some kind of divider (even if it’s mostly a mental one) should help you both. Definitely talk about expectations/boundaries ahead of time. Since you already wfh in the same house you’ve likely figured some of this out, but the same room is a whole new level. You’re smart to be thinking about it now.

        2. Not a butt*

          nothing this! Ours is still in pur bedroom at 7 months, but when we have too, my husband will work from the nursery while the baby has independent play time/ tummy time/ nap time.

          also if your husband move around the house a lot anyway, depending on your set up. he could just take calls out of the office. my husband and I both worked from the ling room of our one bedroom apartment for a couple years and it wasnt that hard to angle the camera to get a nice neutral wall for background.

        3. cabbagepants*

          Yes omg. Our plan to keep the baby in our bedroom collapsed when she had eating issues and couldn’t sleep for more than 2 hours in a stretch. (She’s fine now.) Moving furniture when you have a newborn is so much harder than it would have been when you just have one pregnant person and zero newborns.

        4. TootsNYC*

          especially if the baby’s in daycare during the day (as opposed to home with a nanny), you can cheat and use the nursery as an office for awhile.

          Of course, that only pushes the whole solution off until later.

      2. sb51*

        Two cribs, one in the bedroom and one in one of the offices, out of camera LOS? Baby goes in bedroom when office is in use, office when bedroom is in use.

      3. ferrina*

        Yeah, this is going to vary wildly family-to-family. One of my kids was a restless sleeper. I would wake up every time she made a noise, which was every 5 minutes. She quickly moved into her own room for everyone’s sanity.

      4. kjkjlkjklj*

        Its safer and reccomended for the baby to stay in the parents room since it reduces SIDS. You may think you are sleeping better, but it is truely better for the baby. This is not a subjective opinion, this is backed by medical research. I would urge anyone reading this to not simply put baby in another room because its easier for you. Even if your baby wakes up more in the night in your room, they are SUPPOSED TO.

        1. please don't*

          This is absolutely not helpful to parents who, for example, may be struggling with postpartum anxiety or depression where sleep is one of the most important interventions. We have two; our pediatrician and my OBGYN both strongly advised baby in their own room as early as possible so that I could get enough sleep to healthily function. Let’s go ahead and not do this weird judgmental all-caps “SUPPOSED TO” stuff?

    2. MsSolo (UK)*

      It’s generally recommended that the baby sleep in your room at night for the first six months to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (some countries are now recommending a year). It’s been a while since I read the research, but my understanding is that the benefit is in addition to decreased response times from the parent when the child shows signs of SIDS, so cannot be replaced by monitoring systems i.e. the baby was less likely to stop breathing, rather than the parents were more likely to notice the baby had stopped breathing. It’s speculated it’s something to do with baby being able to hear your breathing, and that stimulating their own breathing response. Obviously, there are circumstances where the risk outweigh the benefits, like if you smoke heavily in your bedroom, and it’s a personal choice based on a variety of risk factors, including risk to the parents (sleep deprivation + operating heavy machinery etc should definitely be factored in!).

      All of that said, we absolutely had our nursery we set up before our baby came, even though we kept her in our room for seven months (by which point she was too big for the bedside crib), because it’s very hard to decorate a room and put furniture together while at least one of you is occupied with a baby. That Ikea cot needed two pairs of hands to put together!

      1. Clisby*

        I’m the eldest of 6 children and my parents always kept a new baby in their room for at least a year. At one point they had a 1 year old and a newborn, and had both of them in their room for awhile.

        Also, there’s no need for a baby to have an actual nursery – we moved our son (2nd child) out of our room when he was 6 or 7 months old and just stuck his crib in the guest room. It’s not like a baby needs a bunch of amenities.

        1. KateM*

          I think having a separate room for a newborn baby is a very American thing. It’s crazy for me that someone would rather lose a private office than not have a dedicated bedroom for a newborn baby!

          1. Throwaway Account*

            I could never afford a baby room or a space big enough to have a second bedroom, and it was fine! My son shared our room till he was 2.5 years and we moved out of our one-bedroom place.

          2. Beth*

            Even if the new baby sleeps in the parents’ room at first, though, they’ll still have the same problem soon, won’t they? 6 months isn’t that long–not on the scale of how long people stay in the same house, at least. They might as well start planning for it now.

          3. amoeba*

            Yeah, I’m not a parent myself, but from what I hear from the parents I know, even the ones who had the baby’s room ready in advance almost all only used it for storage for multiple years! The consensus here (Germany) really seems to be that a separate room is only necessary once they actually play in there by themselves, so, like, not for several years.

      2. cabbagepants*

        I think you mean well with your discussion of SIDS but I just wish that the Internet was better at letting parents(-to-be) exist on the Internet without derails about already-extremely-well-publicized health information.

          1. MsSolo (UK)*

            Just to expand on this, my understanding (not a medical professional!) is that SIDS prevention charities don’t recommend using monitors and other equipment available for home use (such as mattress monitors) as a substitute for room sharing because successful resuscitation from SIDS is extremely rare. Monitors can alert you to a child in distress, but they don’t prevent it.

            (obviously, they’re useful for plenty of other medical conditions and, when the child is older, for figuring out if that thump was baby launching themself out of bed or not!)

        1. please don't*

          Yes, thank you. I had PPD and PPA with both of my children that was bad in the way that makes medical professionals look at you with concern. I HAD to get my babies into their own rooms for my sake and their own, and that’s *not that uncommon* for new parents with mental health issues. I find this whole “just keep the babies with you” take a little frustrating.

    3. Jaunty Banana Hat I*

      I could see the issue here being that they want to get things set up before the baby comes, so as to not be worrying about it once the baby has arrived. Because I would not want the “let’s move the office/create the baby room space” work hanging over me post-birth. They’re going to have to give the baby a room at some point, and the logistics are probably easier before the baby arrives, not afterwards when everyone is exhausted.

    4. didthatonce*

      We did the baby in the bedroom for the first 8 months until we moved. Our bedroom was massive. We set up a semi-nursery in another room. It had the changing table, diaper pail, spare bed with no blankets, chair for nursing, and a reading light. It was more convenient for me to pick baby up in our room and move to semi-nursery in the middle of the night so partner could still sleep, but I could turn on enough light to see what I needed to. I have a history of sleep issues, so I really try to use the bedroom only for resting.

      Baby moved to their own room in our next house, but as I worked from home, I had a baby safe area in the home office. It worked well for us until the toddler stage.

      I currently share an office with my partner and wish I did not. We’ve only had one big issue once. We both wear Over the Ear headphones with mics for our respective stuff. I do try to warn when I have a big meeting (because it’s not often).

      Find what works for you, and if it’s not what you thought prior to baby’s arrival, that’s fine. Things change. But you should note at some point, if both your desks are in the office, you will all three be in the office. How do you want to handle that? Will you both be able to work if the baby is there? Which one of you will find a temporary re-location?

      Also, remember you can always move the furniture around again. You’re not locked into whatever you pick now for forever.

    5. KateM*

      Yeahh we are about to move our 8yo (and a younger sibling) out of our bedroom and that’s mostly because 19yo moved out for college. The living room is their daily playroom, our home office (that we don’t normally use at the same time) is our private space, so actually, our bedroom may have 4 during nights but it is totally deserted during days.

    6. KateM*

      We have three bedrooms. Teens have two of them and the other four of us sleep in third (with one teen just having moved out of home, this is going to change in near future). We figured that teens need more privacy than a baby, and boy, were we thankful for our decision during pandemic!

      1. No lizards allowed*

        You may want to consider whether there’s any other spaces in the house that can be reconfigured into office space for one of you–a corner of the living room, the dining room, etc. I recently needed to move my home office because my daughter and her son are now living with us. I could not share an office with my husband, as we would each find the other’s calls to be way too distracting, and there would be confidentiality problems as well with my job. I was able to convert about half of our walkout basement to a new office. I used room dividers to block off the storage shelves, elliptical machine, and tool bench from view. With some lamps, pictures on the walls and a rug it’s now a cozy space that I actually prefer to work in.

    7. AzaleaBertrand*

      What works for us is separate bedrooms for grownups, baby in with mother until they’ve weaned from overnight feeds (then alternating between parents). Kiddo is four and only just staying in her own room all night although she’s technically had her own room since 2.5.

      So our set up is me + baby in the master, my husband has the larger room for his office, a divider and a bed, and I have the smaller office. Once kiddo weaned at night she stayed in the master and husband and I alternated rooms so we both had turns at getting a good, kid-free rest.

      Our second has just been born and she’ll be in with me for at least a year, if not more. As others have mentioned, this has the benefit of mitigating SIDS risk as well.

      1. allathian*

        Our son was a restless sleeper, and I’ve had sleep issues for about as long as I can remember. Our solution was for my husband to sleep in the same room as our son and for me to sleep in a different room. He was born underweight and wasn’t allowed to lose any of his birth weight, which meant supplementary feeding with donated mother’s milk in the hospital and formula at home. I never got enough lactation support, and our son essentially weaned himself at 4 months. His pediatrician recommended we start him on solids soon after.

        My husband can fall asleep within 5 minutes of his head hitting the bolster and him turning out the light, and that never happens for me no matter how tired I am. So even though I was on maternity leave and my husband was working, he took care of about half of the night feeds with formula and brought the baby to me for the others. He was always asleep by the time I put our son back in his crib.

        My husband shared a bedroom with our son until he was 8. They had a bunk bed and my husband slept on the top bunk. I had and still have the master bedroom, and when my husband traveled on business, our son didn’t want to sleep alone so he slept in my bed. He grew out of it and stopped on his own.

        Now our son has two rooms, one for gaming, hanging out with friends, and homework, the other for sleeping. When we designed our house we planned for more than one kid, but as that wasn’t to be…

    8. iglwif*

      Came here to suggest this.

      We were living in a 1-bedroom when our kiddo was born (not WFH, though — this was 2002) and in defiance of our plans for her to sleep in a bassinet by the bed and eventually transition to a crib*, she slept with us full-time for the next 4.5 years, until we moved to our current 2-bedroom flat, and part-time for a couple of years after that.

      Obviously this is YMMV! In our case, we discovered we had vastly overestimated the degree to which babies need their own bedrooms, but some people haaaate co-sleeping and the best place for everyone to sleep is wherever everyone gets the most sleep.

      Still, in this situation where sharing an office is a big worry, it seems like putting baby in the bedroom for a bit is worth a try.

      *Where did we think we were going to put a crib in the bedroom of a 640-square-foot flat (including balcony)? Don’t ask me, I have no idea.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        “the best place for everyone to sleep is wherever everyone gets the most sleep.”

        + 1 million

  4. Rage*

    Can you put up a barrier or something between the desks, so it looks/feels a bit more like cubicles? If your husband is the one who gets up and moves around more, his desk should be closest to the door, so he can come and go without disturbing you as much. The barrier might also dampen the sound as well, which could also help.

  5. Don't miss that job*

    You may want to consider how much your coworkers will be able to hear your husband’s calls. I had former boss who had a similar set up with his wife and her conversations were so distracting. I never did come up with a way to let him know, but I would do anything to avoid calls with him.

    1. I'm just here for the cats!!*

      Also, what are each of your companies’ requirements? Like do you need 100% privacy during calls? If so sharing a space is not going to work, even with all of the noise-canceling headphones.

    2. Keeley Jones, The Independent Woman*

      There’s some noise canceling headphones that are good at filtering out background noise coming through the microphone, and Teams has a setting too. My dog was having an uncharacteristic fit one day and my boss heard nothing.

      But if OP’s husband suffers from the same loud phone voice syndrome my husband does, even if the headphones block it for her coworkers, but not help her so much.

      1. TootsNYC*

        I wanted to come mention the idea of investigating the microphone pickup range, as well as noise cancelling of the headphones themselves.

        Make the technology work for you.

      2. PickleFish*

        TEAMs picks up voices-talk radio, TVs, my preschooler or husband in the background. On the other hand, my husband vacuumed right behind me and my staff member heard nothing. I have Bose noise canceling headphones and enabled TEAMs noise cancelation. Definitely check it out with test calls. I work in what is supposed to be our dining room in the center of our house. I bought 2 dividing screens off Amazon and put them together with extra hinges. It separates me out, allows me to shut my office space for mental health, and it’s a great background for video calls.

    3. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

      Yeah, even with headphones this happens. During the World Cup last year my coworkers could hear the soccer match on in the next room (husband was watching, he freelances so his hours are MUCH more flexible than mine), and it was NOT on loud.

    4. Project Manager*

      Yes, I have a handful of coworkers that obviously share an office space with their spouse and find it very distracting when I have calls with them. Either their partner is also on calls, generating a ton of disparate background conversation OR I’m just overly aware that their partner is there, able to listen in on our discussion.

      I WFH full time without an office and I setup a desk armoire in our bedroom. This + a virtual background works great for me. It gives me a dedicated space and since it can be fully enclosed, doesn’t make our bedroom feel like an office when it’s closed up.

    5. Anax*

      Yep! And also consider whether there are any cultural differences between your workplaces which will be important if a call is overheard.

      My partner can be on the louder side, and sometimes swears during calls – which is totally appropriate in their workplace culture and not excessive, but it’s something I personally try to avoid in a professional setting. There have been one or two cases where I’m preparing for a stakeholder meeting and hear a sudden “SHIT!” from the next room.

      In our case, we work across the hall from each other and I close my door for important meetings, but it’s worth having a conversation!

      In particular, how will you signal the really important meetings – the great-grandboss or client meetings where you want to step up your level of professionalism and grace, and ordinary disruptions like overhearing a bit of your partner’s call might be a problem?

    6. Schmitt*

      Came just to +1 this. We have a couple working for our company, and it is *so* annoying and distracting to hear her in the background when they have simultaneous meetings – *he* has noise cancelling headphones and doesn’t hear her, but we do! Sometimes we can’t even hear him over her!

      Someone above has commented about background noise filtering, but this doesn’t work in this case, because it’s another voice, it’s relatively loud, and the filter doesn’t know to filter out her voice but not his.

    7. sookie st james*

      My partner and I work from the same desk, side by side, and have done for years (I know not everyone would like that, but it works just fine for us). We’re lucky to not have heaps of calls, but we’ve arranged a backup space in the living room where I can easily move my laptop (my setup is portable, his isn’t) if we do need to have a call at the same time, or one of us wants privacy for whatever reason. If you can, I’d arrange something similar – bedroom, living room, kitchen table, where you can relocate to quickly if you feel the need for that extra privacy.

  6. Ellen*

    My husband and I both worked from home in a 2-bedroom apartment when our baby arrived. He worked in our bedroom, and my office became an office/nursery. I would consider an arrangement like this instead of sharing an office!

    The baby wasn’t even in the second bedroom for the first few months, and once he was, he was pretty stationary for a long while. When he began crawling, we installed a portable baby gate in the middle of the room, with my desk on one side and all the baby things on the other. (This was in a 9×9′ bedroom, so not exactly a huge space.) You might need to make adjustments as the baby becomes a toddler, but I suspect you’d be able to make this arrangement work longer than you think.

    My husband and I both have meeting-heavy schedules, so that’s a factor. But I also think we’d drive each other crazy being in the same room all day long. Think about whether your rooms can have multiple purposes, rather than needing a dedicated office!

    1. Sloanicota*

      Great point. Among my friends where both couples work from home, they also ended up sending the baby to daycare after their parental leave ended, so the baby’s room would be unoccupied all day and could probably be an office during that time. I could imagine a cute standing desk / changing table combo :D

      1. Clisby*

        Or just ditch the changing table idea completely. I’ve had 2 kids, 0 changing tables. It always sounded like a scam run by Babies R Us, since it’s completely unnecessary.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          We had a “changing table” that was in fact a chest of drawers (dresser) with a changing mat on top. A dedicated table with only nappy (diaper) accoutrements underneath would have taken up too much square footage.

          1. amoeba*

            I think that’s the standard thing here in Europe (IKEA dresser with topper thingy) – didn’t even know there were specific changing tables!

            1. Clisby*

              We just had a changing pad and changed the babies in the crib, on our bed, on the floor. No need for a piece of furniture.

    2. IndigoHippo*

      Yes we had a desk in the nursery for ages and it worked well. Now we have two kids sharing that room and the desk got edged out and I miss it.

    3. All Het Up About It*

      This is an interesting idea! Particularly if the plan is for baby to be in daycare during the day while still WFH. I could also see one of those closet office/desk situations working well, if the room allows it. Most baby/toddler clothes don’t really need to be hung up and it would be a great way to close the office away and out of reach. A high sliding lock would work even when baby is toddling and can reach door knobs.

    4. Dollars to Donuts*

      I did this too! We kept our bedroom for just sleeping, and one office for just being a solo office. And then the third room, after I had returned to work and my baby starting going to daycare, became an office by day and a nursery by night. Little babies don’t mind sharing their space :)

      1. Dollars to Donuts*

        Others have commented elsewhere about nursery decor/clutter not looking professional as a background. I have a mini-desk that puts my back to a wall — so the view isn’t of the entire room, but just of a wall that’s a few feet behind me. I love it, because my background always looks clean, and I get to look out toward the rest of the house rather than staring at a wall myself.

    5. Mill Miker*

      This is where I land too. Convert a chunk of the bigger office to Nursery space. With a well placed divider or bookshelf you could probably even get away with painting and redecorating one half of the room without affecting the workspace (other than the far wall getting closer to the camera).

  7. KHB*

    I don’t have much specific advice, but I wanted to say that you’re not imagining things by thinking that this feels different than working in an open office in the Before Times. There really is a difference between work noise from people doing more or less the same thing as you, and work noise from someone doing something totally different.

    I hope you can make this work, but if you can’t, is there any other space in the house that you can use for office space? A corner of the living room, a corner of the bedroom, etc.?

    And congrats on the baby!

    1. Lisa B*

      I think one of the biggest reasons this feels different is also because, presumably, these are two different companies. There’s a level of implied confidentiality you’d have to have, but for sure each spouse is going to be hearing much more about the other’s company. So depending on what role each of you have, that could be highly problematic. I’m auditor, and *nobody* should be overhearing my conversations. I highly agree with a commenter above that suggested maintaining office/nursery as long as feasible. (There’s a *separate* issue that at some point the baby will become hands-on to the point you might need a different childcare arrangement altogether, but that’s not the request so won’t go down that path…. just pointing it out as another thing to think about as you’re considering long-term needs.)

    2. mlem*

      I think it also matters that it’s one person as opposed to an office. When you’re surrounded by people, it might be easier to just dismiss them all mentally in a way that is much easier than mentally dismissing *one* person in the same space as you. (There’s a parallel here to “big-city manners” vs “small-town manners”.)

      1. Hlao-roo*

        Yes, I was thinking along these lines too. I work in a cubicle, and it’s much easier to focus when there are multiple conversations going on than when there is only one conversation going on. Multiple conversations overlap and become general background noise; being able to hear the distinct words of a single conversation continually grabs my attention.

      2. Guacamole Bob*

        Yes, I shared an office with one other person in the Before Times, and that was very different than being in open cubicles. Each have their distractions, but it’s very hard to tune out that one other conversation from a shared office.

        Also, something about being in Work Mode around a spouse can be very distracting – for me, anyway. It’s not as stark as the change of tone and body language that happens if my kids come in to ask for something when I’m on a work call, but it’s definitely there.

      3. amoeba*

        Yup – I was in the team planning our new open office workspace, and the architect specifically said that you need a certain level of “background murmur” for it to work, so noises get absorbed and don’t stand out. If it’s too quiet, because not many people are in, for instance, this doesn’t work and even the smallest noise stands out.

        It’s like it’s much easier for most people to concentrate in a café than in a quiet library where just one person is talking.

    3. New Mom (of 1 1/9)*

      I also find that I naturally tune in to my husband’s voice much more automatically than other peoples’!

  8. Sloanicota*

    I think I’m confused. If he “moves around the house the rest of the day” that suggests there are other spaces in the house that might be good, so I’d lean into that more. You can both be working quietly at your desks in one room, but can there be a designated place one of you can take calls, either if the other one is also taking a call in the office, or just needs more quiet? You can set up a little standing desk, or just move yourself into the kitchen, dining room, living room (I take sooo many zooms from my couch now) etc. “Honey, could you take that to the living room?” needs to be an acceptable thing to ask and receive. I’d also aim to each spend an hour in the alternate work space to give yourselves a break from each other, but YMMV on the necessity of that.

    1. not like a regular teacher*

      Yes this. Working quietly in the same room is no problem for almost anyone. Working quietly while someone is on a call in the room with you? Ymmv, some people wouldn’t care at all while others would find it intolerable. Both people on a call at the same time in the same room? Almost always unacceptable. An alternate space for calls is a must!

      1. ArtsNerd*

        This happens in my actual at-the-office office now that we have a fourth officemate* and I am slowly dying.

        *it was originally a conference room and we were working well as a big shared office, but the newest addition is always. on. a. call.

    2. NYCRedhead*

      Came here to say the same thing. I would find listening to someone’s calls incredibly difficult and trying to have my own call impossible. I would be moving someone into the living room, maybe with one of those fold up desks that close up into a narrow armoire at the end of the day.

    3. Zoe Karvounopsina*

      This is what my housemate and I do. We both work out of the main room, and go to either the connected dining room or the kitchen if we need privacy to make a call. (The kitchen means you can close the door, the dining room just looks nicer and means we aren’t on top of each other.)

      Obviously we have a lot of space, but still, I’d recommend having the space where you work together, and another space for important calls that doesn’t have to be easily habitable for as long.

    4. Khatul Madame*

      Exactly. Why are only bedrooms being considered as “working spaces” and not living or dining rooms?

      1. stacers*

        This! A breakfast nook, the dining room/kitchen table, a corner of the living room with a small desk where he takes his calls. Heck, a hall closet/kitchen pantry with a small desk for a laptop and a chair on wheels. Blurred backgrounds on Zoom make almost anywhere he can carve a corner ideal.

        If they’re going to have child care, give the baby the bigger office, and portion out a corner to put a desk where he can take calls.

        I absolutely would not want someone in the room during my calls/meetings and vice versa.

      2. snoopythedog*

        Because when you have a little baby, it’s easier to contain the work to an office space, then the noisy baby to a single room.

      3. Miette*

        Came here to say this. I share a home with my sister. She takes the office as she is a corporate accountant and needs some level of privacy. I’m a freelancer currently and my schedule is very flexible. I sit at our dining room table, which we rarely use, and it has a much nicer background for Zoom calls lol (nice brick hearth behind me).

      4. Brooklyn*

        Because American fashion is to have houses that are too large and not have mixed use space. We’ve been trained not to think about it. I shared a two bedroom with a roommate and a partner at the beginning of covid, we all worked remote from an apartment probably the size of OP’s bedroom. It’s not crazy, you just need to remember that you have a laptop. It’s meant to move. You might not do long solo work sessions well without the second monitor, mouse, keyboard, but it’s pretty rare to have a video call where any of that is necessary. Take it from the kitchen, the living room, the patio, a local coffee shop.

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          I think it depends on your role? About 60-70% of my zoom calls I need a second monitor as I’m often screen-sharing or looking at what someone else is screen sharing. My middle-aged eyes are no longer able to easily look at spreadsheets on a laptop!

          1. Brooklyn*

            Maybe it’s the remnants from my teaching days, but I think it’s pretty common courtesy to share a screen in a way that is legible on a screen share to a laptop screen. I guess if that’s not the norm in your company, then yeah, you may be right. A portable external monitor may be a solution, if that’s a need.

            1. amoeba*

              I also need/want a second screen, mouse, and keyboard most of the time and still work from my dining table regularly – I just set them up in the morning, takes two minutes, and the rest of the time they live on a shelf in the office.

      5. SongbirdT*

        +1 for the dining room!

        I don’t know about y’all, but the formal dining room is the least used room in my house. When we eat together as a family, it’s around our kitchen island or in the living room where we catch our favorite YouTubes. Even when we host get-togethers, we usually dine on the back patio.

        So my suggestion for LW is to really think about whether their dining space can be reconfigured for working. Or any other space that’s really only used for entertaining or special occasions. That would be the first place to try.

        1. amoeba*

          Honestly, if I have a dining room, that would 100% go before the second office! (Maybe just my European viewpoint – they’re quite uncommon here, we usually just have a dining table in the living room, and/or in the kitchen.)

          Or, yes, it could double up, although I’d probably still leave it in its “office state” most of the time and move the stuff out in case I actually have guests.

      6. House On The Rock*

        Since the start of the pandemic I’ve worked at our dining room table and it’s been a pretty good arrangement. My spouse has other ways to access parts of the house when I’m on a call, it’s a fairly pleasant space with good light, and it’s easy to move my laptop and work things if we need the table (note that I only use a laptop, not docking station or multiple monitors because my job is almost entirely doing zoom calls and answering emails…the joys of a middle manager!). I’d definitely think about whether there are other spaces like a kitchen table or corner of the living room that are viable.

        1. Clever Alias*

          +1. My dining room table is my desk. I have a little rolling cart where I have my printer, a few reference materials, and my laptop when its not in use. If we’re entertaining in the dining room, that rolling cart gets stashed in the bedroom for the duration and no one is this wiser.

    5. StressedButOkay*

      We tossed our very unused dining room table and turned it into a mini half-office on the main floor. From the couch on, it’s living room but from the back on it’s an office. It’s worked wonders for mental health, since one of us was shut in the dark basement since we only had one official office, while keeping the separation we needed from us both working. It’s very much a “when I’m here, I’m working” space.

    6. Mrs. Bond*

      This is what my husband and I do. If we both have a call at the same time one of us will go someplace else. It might mean turning the camera off for that call, but that’s normally fine.

      We are planning to invest in some sound absorbing panels in the future which will hopefully help with sound in the office when one of us takes a call and the other is trying to concentrate. Noise cancelling headphones help somewhat.

    7. B*

      Yes, this depends somewhat on your equipment requirements but I would MUCH rather have one person work in the office and the other set up an inconspicuous desk in the living room or wherever it might fit.

      You want to do everything possible not to associate your spouse with the kinds of gripes everyone has about their officemates.

  9. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Good headsets (which both of you use consistently, even if the other isn’t in the room) and a room divider. And don’t try to share a desk – separate desks, separate filing cabinets, etc. Basically, try to make it into 2 spaces rather than 1 if you can.

    1. at home with headphones*

      I second good headsets. I’ve worked from the same home office as my husband for 12 years. We invested in Sennheiser headphones with directional mics so the mic only picks up your voice and very little else. For me, I can’t have his desk in my vision (my back is to him) because it’s too distracting for me. But it’s worked great for us. If we’re both in very important meetings where were talking a lot at the same time, sometimes I’ll move to a different spot in the house, but it’s rare.

      1. Chocolatebunny*

        I share our office with my husband and have done since March 2020. We both have our own desks next to each other and use good headphones. My husband has lots of meetings, but I use the headphones to listen to music or the radio when he’s on a call so not to distract me.
        My headphones aren’t particularly expensive, but the microphone blocks out his voice to a dull background hum for people when I’m on a call at the same time.
        The only thing to really note is sometimes one person will get a bit enthusiastic on their call and the other person has to let them know to tone it down a bit.
        Overall it’s worked very well for us.

      2. Carit*


        The directional microphones are key! Note that you need to check for it, and may need to adjust the layout so that each person’s “direction” doesn’t overlap or it may still pick up other conversations.

  10. Lilo*

    I had to do this during lockdown and I highly advise against it. I would see if there is literally anywhere else in your house you can put a desk. Having someone else on calls can be extremely disruptive to your workflow.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I think I’d have a hard time not bugging my partner if we were together all day – I’d be prone to chatting if my favorite person was Right There! And if it wasn’t me, it’d probably be them, or we’d alternate at distracting each other haha. Probably better to be out of sight for a good chunk of the day.

      1. t-vex*

        I worked from home for a when they were renovating my office. My husband worked night shift at the time and he would stop in to bring me food or ask questions or show me things or pop in with the cat ALL. DAY. LONG. I loved him but it made me insane. I was so glad to get back to the office when it reopened

      2. Peon*

        My husband used to text/message me in the middle of the day and I could easily ignore that, but now that we both WFH he TALKS and that is so much harder to ignore LOL. Just because we are both in the same room and he had a thought about an upcoming home improvement project does not mean I’m in the right headspace to discuss that.

        1. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

          This raises a good point about discussing in advance about your “office rules”/etiquette. I used to work in the dining room and people (teens) thought that meant they could talk to me any time! Drove me nuts.

    2. Glazed Donut*

      Coming here to say that – consider non-“office” rooms of your house. I wfh and have 2 spare bedrooms, but my work setup is actually in my laundry room. The wall behind me is plain gray and no one knows I’m in a laundry room.
      I also like it because it’s typically ‘out of sight’ during non-work hours — I don’t walk by it at night/on weekends and think about work (I do go in to do laundry, obviously, but don’t spend long in there on weekends).
      Working from the laundry room has been my winning wfh set up – and I get to keep my 2 spare bedrooms as such.

  11. Lila*

    Given the size of your space, seems like he could move his desk somewhere else – either the living room or into your bedroom? Or have an overflow desk somewhere else? My husband and I were both working from home starting in the pandemic — our desks were in our bedroom so as not to get in the way of our son’s remote school with a babysitter. We put a small desk in our kids’ room as an overflow space so one of us could sit there if we both had calls, or one person had a very talk-y call. I now go in most days, but we have the same setup — both desks in our bedroom and a desk in the kids room.

  12. Olive*

    This obviously won’t work for everyone, but we moved to a lower COL area where we could get a house with space for two offices.

    But we also had a tiny bedroom with just enough room for a bed and dresser – if the bedroom had been just a little larger, I would have moved my office into there. I know that some people feel strongly about a bedroom/work room separation, but I had a joint bedroom/office for years while living at home, as a college student, and as a young adult with roommates or in a studio apartment. Both being on calls in the same home office wasn’t working out at all, but again, YMMV.

    1. The Unspeakable Queen Lisa*

      You know, you saying that gave me another idea. Turn the master bedroom into the shared office – this is always the largest room and then there’s even more options for not interfering with each other. Then the larger “office” gets turned back into a bedroom.

      1. margarita water*

        we did this, its a game changer. Everyone thinks we are crazy for not having the master for our bedroom but we have so much space now to work and were only using the bedroom to sleep.

    2. amcb13*

      If there’s room in the bedroom, setting up a desk in there with a divider to section off the “office” part of the room from the “bedroom” part of the room might work better than a divider between two desks in the office; in that case, the divider would be for the psychological division between work space and sleep space, rather than as a somewhat ineffective noise-dampener.

    3. Elizabeth*

      My husband and I have been sharing an office for a couple of years now and love it. We connect at the beginning of the day on our meeting schedules. If we have overlaps, we try to figure out whether someone’s is a “talking meeting” (like a big all staff or webinar wouldn’t be a talking meeting, whereas something more collaborative or a presentation could be a talking meeting). If we have two talking meetings that overlap we sort of decide amongst ourselves who needs the office more. I imagine it would also be helpful to have an “overflow” office spot (just a desk and an outlet and a second screen maybe?). Success also kind of depends on how well you know your schedule in advance. I imagine if your job is receiving phone calls unpredictability it would probably be harder to coordinate.

      1. Tilly*

        this is exactly what my partner and I do too. communication is the biggest part of sharing an office, as well as both being home together nearly 24/7. in addition to communicating about talking meetings, we’re very clear with each other when one of us needs a break from “peopling” altogether and what that needs to look like (“I’m going on a solo walk” or “hey, I’m going to shut myself in the bedroom with my knitting for the next hour or so, please don’t disturb unless emergency”)

        our “overflow” is whatever feels comfortable to one of us at the time–kitchen table, couch, heck, I’ve even used our bedroom dresser as a standing desk!

    1. Ama*

      One thing to test out is some kind of fan or white noise machine — I used one in my noisy office back in the day (when my cubicle had a conference room on one side, a coworker who answered our helpline behind me, and the staff kitchen directly in front of me), and in the early days of the pandemic my husband and I were only separated by a very thin wall (it was not structural and I don’t believe it had any insulation in it). His voice carries a lot when he’s on calls (which is most of his day, as he does a lot of external client work) and the fan on the air purifier I had in my office really helped lessen the sound of his voice to a point where I could easily tune it out. No one ever seemed to be able to hear it on calls as long as I was on headphones.

    2. Peon*

      Yeah. Rugs or carpets if they don’t interfere with desk chairs, curtains, textile wall hangings, special divider wall (plenty on Amazon made to reduce noise) – any of that will absorb some noise.

  13. LimeRoos*

    My husband and I share an office when he works from home. The only issue we really run into is if we both have a call, one of us needs to go to another room – usually it’s him since I’m a trainer and wfh full time and he doesn’t. Good headphones are super helpful, and establishing if you guys don’t mind chatting during the day or if someone needs super quiet to concetrate or whatever the ideal work environment is and meshing those together. Just communicating on what each of you need that day/week and keeping abreast of each others’ schedules helps a ton. And having a plan for competing calls or private meetings. A lot of people have no idea how we do this, but when you buy a house that comes with a built in wrap around desk for 2-3 people, you uh, you just enjoy the office. Conveniently we do enjoy each other’s company, so that helps.

    1. anybody*

      Came here to say almost exactly the same thing! My wife and I shared a home office for five years. It was great and worked really well for us, but we realized early on that competing calls just wouldn’t work. Giving each other a heads up either verbally or via text before jumping into a call really helped smooth things out, and agreeing in advance who would relocate when we did have competing calls was key (in our case, she had multiple daily calls and mine were much more sporadic, so I’d just move myself into a different room when I needed to).

      My only other advice would be to position yourselves so that neither of you can see what’s on each other’s screens while you’re working. Our initial desk layout had her looking over my shoulder all the time, and it felt very weird and oppressive to both of us.

      We’re still married and we still like each other, so I think things worked out all right!

    2. leeapeea*

      Responding here since my setup with my partner is very similar! We have positioned our desks so we face away from each other kitty corner, like dual cubical seats can. We both have headsets with microphones and noise cancellation levels, and at the start of the day we each go over our meeting schedule and determine if it makes sense for either of us to take a meeting/call outside of our office. We’ve gotten to blocking off time when the other has a regular meeting where they’re contributing a lot (rather than just listening with an occasional comment). Both our workstations have multiple monitors, so it’s not always easy to relocate, but going through these motions every day helps.
      Another thing I’ll add is that we evolved to this setup. Start somewhere, but be willing to make changes and try new things. Bookmark any local coworking spaces in case you really need to get away, or (like in my case) your power gets taken out by a tree and doesn’t come back for three days. Best of luck and congrats on the baby!

    3. Catwoman*

      My husband and I did this during the pandemic shutdown. Communicating when you will be on calls goes a very long way. I also want to add that I was working from home solo before everything shut down in 2020, and it was really nice to get a “coworker”! While it feels inconvenient to share your space, there are benefits to this as well, such as having a soundboard for awkward work situations and having someone to share a lunch or take a walk with if you can get your breaks to line up.

    4. J*

      My husband and I set a 5 minute meeting with each other each morning to go over schedules, and Monday morning it’s more like a 10 minute look at the week ahead. He has to present at bigger meetings but then another 20% of meetings he just facilitates tech and never once speaks but he needs his triple monitor setup to do both, and then he has 1-on-1s where he needs to talk but can take it anywhere. I often have to screen share but then the rest of the time I’m note taking and can do that anywhere.

      I actually mark his meetings on my calendar (keeping myself available 9 times out of 10) but that way I know when I schedule a call where I can take it. We have a setup in another room that’s nice and tolerable for conference calls/low tech video calls and sometimes we’ll head to that space. The rest of the time, he can be on his meetings or I can be on mine and we have noise-canceling devices and barely know the other is there. Sometimes we’ll text if there’s a pop-up demanding call to confirm availability.

      During the 8-12/1-5 he’s my coworker in a coworking space mostly. I see my colleagues in the office doing similar accommodating since they have only 2 phone booths. I share a (very long) desk and office supplies and it works. He’s since moved to hybrid and I miss having him around even though we barely talk to each other between our morning meeting and lunch.

  14. Mouse*

    Every morning we’re both at home, my husband and I go over our meeting schedule and figure out if there’s any overlap. If we’re both on “talky” meetings (meaning we’ll be actively contributing–we both often have meetings that we mostly just need to listen to) at the same time, one of us moves to the living room. It’s not perfect, but it works.

    That’s really been the only major issue with us sharing an office, but there are some minor ones. We both occasionally distract each other, or conflict over what kind of music we want to listen to, but all of those things are solvable with decent communication.

    1. Blue footed*

      Yes, the most important thing I learned in 2ish years of full time WFH in the same room as my wife was this: having a kind, communicative spouse makes all the difference!

  15. Kate*

    Not what you’re asking, but my son is 4 and still hardly uses “his room” for anything but sleeping. Playing independently in your own room doesn’t come along for quite a while. If kiddo is going to be out of the house at day care while you’re working, you can use that room for adult needs for quite a while. However, I can understand that once the little one is mobile, it might be easier to have all the work tech in one room where the door can be closed.

    1. Kate*

      I looked back at your letter and yeah, my suggestion would be:
      – husband has his desk in your office to keep tech and other stuff
      – put a comfy armchair in baby’s room where he can take calls, assuming baby isn’t being watched by a nanny in your home and will need to nap there

      Then he won’t be making calls on top of you and can still have a dedicated place for his work stuff.

      1. i like hound dogs*


        My son is 8 and though he does read independently there now, I feel like he’s used his room as a sleeping and changing room for the majority of his life, haha

        1. KateM*

          My daughter is 8 and she hasn’t had her own room at all as yet. :D And even with one big brother out of home, she’ll still get to share a room with her sister. I believe that by the time they are teens they will get separate bedrooms, though, as the other brother should be out of home by that time as well.

          1. allathian*

            Yeah. When my sister and I were teens, we lived in a 600 sq ft one bedroom apartment. Thankfully the living room was about half of that square footage, so my parents sectioned a part of it off into a sleeping alcove, and the kitchen was big enough for a dining room table that could seat a family of 4 and a couple guests.

            Kids are very adaptable and that was normal for us, but I suspect that my sister and I would’ve had far fewer fights if we’d had at least some privacy. It also meant that bringing friends home wasn’t really an option unless the other sister was somewhere else, but thankfully all of our friends were very understanding and we got to visit them instead.

            But there’s a reason why my sister and I moved out when I was 19 and she was still a minor at 17! She was my roommate when I was in college, but at least not literally, we had a one-bedroom apartment where I slept in the kitchenette/living room and she had the bedroom. We had moved closer to my paternal grandmother, and my sister and I moved into her apartment when she went into a care home for people with dementia and all of us knew that she wasn’t going to return to her apartment. My dad’s an only child and the executor of his mom’s estate. It also helped us financially that he didn’t make us pay rent, just the utilities and that both my sister and I had PT jobs.

      2. EA*

        Agreed! I would put an “overflow” desk in the baby’s room for sure. Most nurseries are more for Instagram than the actual baby anyway…

    2. Hannah Lee*

      Yeah, I’m wondering if the larger room might work as a combo baby’s room / husband’s office (or LW’s, but since husband moves around a lot during the day it might be better)
      They can set the furniture/layout up so that his background on calls is neutral and possibly a room divider so that if a caregiver had to bring the baby in for a diaper change or whatever, it would be less distracting.

      At least for now while baby is a baby and primarily would be using that room for sleeping, though it might depend on the child care plan and where the baby will be during the workday.

  16. Miss Muffet*

    Most of the time, my spouse is also in the office but since Covid, has a space here in “my” office (I’m 100% WFH and have been for about 15 yrs) and we do occasionally have days that we share still. What we figured out in the pandemic is to quickly run through our meeting schedule each day, for meetings where we’d have a lot of talking, or a just-listening meeting, a meeting where we’d really need to be at our high/dual monitors, or something like a 1-1 where we’d want some privacy. Then the other would just decamp to the dining room or the backyard so the one who needed the office could have it.
    We also got matching desks (we have these two corner desks from ikea that fit in opposite corners so we’re next to each other and and both have window seats) – making the office look ‘nice’ can go a long way toward making it a less stressful environment (like at the very beginning of the pandemic when we set up a card table in here for him).
    One last thing is making sure the webcam for video calls is pointed in a way that doesn’t show the other person.
    Good luck! It’s totally doable, especially if he does at least have an office to go to sometimes.

  17. Llama Llama*

    I don’t this is all that different from an open office which in many ways is terrible because of soooooooooo many people.

    A really good pair of noise cancelling headsets is a must though. my son has a tendency to yell at a high pitch again and again (he is disabled so convincing him to stop is a dream). I have asked multiple times in calls and people can’t hear it.

    1. amoeba*

      The quality of the microphone would also be crucial for that, wouldn’t it? I think good directional mics are great at only picking up the voice of the wearer right next to it – like, if you turn up the mic on our headphones, you’re basically muted.

  18. HR Friend*

    My husband and I both work from home and have a ton of calls per day. We don’t have a dedicated office, 3br home with 2 kids who each need their own space.

    We sectioned off a small space our (finished) basement for my husband’s desk – he prefers the low light, for some reason! More importantly, he requires a large external monitor, so he needs a permanent desk setup. It’s out of the way of the rest of the flow of the house in the basement. I just use my laptop to work, so I can set up on any other table in the house. Having a full floor of separation helps with the noise, obvi, but also with feeling like we’re not on top of each another.

    That’s a long way of saying that we assessed what we both need for our physical workspace and what we prefer for our WFH environment in general, and then picked where we worked in the house based on that. I would definitely prefer an office, but this works for us!

    1. Bacu1a*

      I second this approach!

      Before moving into our 3 bedroom house, my husband and I worked from opposite ends of the couch in our one bedroom apartment. When we both had calls at the same time where we would need to talk, he’d go into the bedroom and close the door. I think being on opposite ends of the couch, we had to make an effort to look at each other (which did help us keep focused). Now that we’re in a house, neither of our offices are in a bedroom! He’s in the basement, and I have an area of the first floor.

  19. Magpie*

    My biggest concern would be how to handle it when you’re both on calls at the same time. I have a teammate who shares an office with his wife and even though he has a good headset, we can still hear her talking in the background when he’s unmuted and it’s really distracting. There might be ways to work around that but if the room you’re planning to use is small enough, your headsets will still probably be picking up each other’s talking no matter what. If it were me, I would try to find another space in the house to set up someone’s workspace so you’re not sharing a room.

  20. DisneyChannelThis*

    As someone back in office with 3 people per office and all of us on simultaneous zoom calls I think you’ll be fine. Just maybe test out your zoom settings with friends/eachother before using it on work calls (blur background, how loud do you have to talk to be heard, does other computer pick up your talking as input).

  21. Almost Empty Nester*

    My husband and I shared a home office in our bonus room for a couple of years. Then we bought a bigger house so we could have separate offices because it was challenging when we’d both be on conference calls. We met at work, worked together for a couple of years before getting married, so we were “familiar” with working both together and in close proximity to each other so the “too close for comfort” thing didn’t bother us. What bothered us was the volume of the other person speaking when we were on calls at the same time. If I had it to do over again and moving wasn’t an option, I’d have invested in some kind of screen to soften the noise and see if that helped.

  22. Jane Bingley*

    My husband and I both work from home and we have one desk in the office and one desk in a corner of the living room. And we hot-desk from there! If he’s got a call he’ll take the office, and I’ll plug away in the living room. If I’ve got a board meeting in the evening, I’ll take it in the office and the living room is his to relax in.

    Our living room desk is simple – just an IKEA FJALLBO laptop desk with a lamp and some pens/highlighters, plus a power bar underneath. The office desk has more storage and space for two laptops because my husband sometimes needs to use both for his work.

    We don’t currently have kids, but our tentative childproofing plans consist of a device to stick the power bar to the underside of the desk to get it off the floor and a small baby fence around the desk to limit exploration around it. For the office the plan is to just close the door 24/7.

  23. ThinMint*

    My husband and I shared our basement, which was one room about 15 feet long and 10 feet wide, for the first 1.5 years of the pandemic. Looking back, I can’t believe we did. I frequently got told that they could hear him in the background, I always had to be on mute even when the tone of the video call would have allowed for staying unmuted to have a more easily flowing conversation. My husband’s coworkers claimed to never hear me. I attribute that to me having a quieter voice. My husband attributes that to him using a headphone/microphone combo instead of using the computer mic like I did. It’s probably a combination of both.

    It was *shrugs* fine enough because we had to do it. But I definitely got tired of hearing my husband’s calls and whole workday after about a month.

    I also had a baby after that first 1.5 years, so I had a break from being in the basement with him. Coming back after maternity leave to sharing the office again was QUITE jarring and it felt like my colleagues and meetings were far less forgiving after having experienced the break.

  24. bunniferous*

    The issue is going to be phone calls.

    What if your husband used your office to store any files, etc for his job but actually did his calls from your dining room or bedroom?

    1. kalli*

      Then what happens if he needs to refer to files while on a call? Otherwise he could float while taking calls and this wouldn’t be an issue in the first place – he obviously needs to be in a space with access to his office stuff if he always takes calls from his desk but he floats otherwise, because the actual call equipment can be portable (tablet/phone/laptop) and that isn’t being utilised.

      Really we need to know what they both need from their desks and calls (which are a big part of both days) in order to give advice here – is it just a background and a good connection? do they not have WiFi so they have to be within cooee of an access point to take calls on a stable connection? Do they need to use files and attend to tasks while on meetings? What’s going to happen if the baby needs attention during a meeting? Things like that.

  25. Samwise*

    Hmm, if you are both making a lot of calls…sharing an office can be tough. I had to share an office back in the last century, so in person, and it was haaarrddd. Calls and meetings were disruptive to the other person in the office. Sometimes one of us could go out to do our work, but if we both had calls or appointments — not great.

    If your husband doesn’t need to make as many calls as you, can he set up a place elsewhere at home to do his calls? Kitchen table? Small desk tucked into an alcove or hallway?

  26. Stevesie*

    My husband and I are both WFH as well and we’ve moved around the house quite a bit to avoid having to share an “office”. Current set up is I have an office in our guest room (I share it with a daybed) and he’s on a desk in the breakfast nook. We’ll be adjusting again as we’re moving from having a baby in daycare to having a nanny at home and he needs a space that isn’t out in the open. He’ll be taking the office and I’ll be moving my desk to our bedroom (goodbye sewing table). You’ll probably need to be flexible and try out a few options before marrying yourself to any of them. FWIW, I have two employees on my team that share a home office and they’re in a call center environment, on the phone all day! If they can do it, anyone can.

  27. Mel*

    Tried it and ended up relocating to a dead corner of the living room because a single overlapping call in a small room is so distracting, even with noise-cancelling headphones. Thanks to demand there are some great modern bureaus on the market now, which can be closed with child-proof locks!

    1. nerak*

      Yes, I have my “office” set up in the corner of our living room where the Christmas tree goes, a small desk with a filing cabinet and a lamp, and we move my stuff around during the holidays so we can put up the tree. I’m usually off for a couple of weeks anyway, so it’s not a terrible inconvenience to work from someplace “new” while the tree is up.

      I understand that we’re lucky to have this space (there was a rarely-used chair in this corner before we set up my work station)!

  28. Elliot*

    We’re in the same situation! Three bedroom house, two home offices, baby on the way. I do tech consulting and training so I’m on video calls ALL day, and my husband is in tech support and on phone calls all day!
    What we’re doing is utilizing our kind of back/second living room as my office. I keep my desk and workspace pretty tidy so just having my standing desk against the wall in there won’t be a huge deal.
    Also – I see comments about a nursery/office combo, but also totally get why you wouldn’t want to do that (we don’t)! As new parents, we are so excited to have a nursery just committed to our kiddo, and I don’t want to be working in a nursery/breastfeeding at 3 am in my office!

  29. teensyslews*

    A couple of things:
    – both invest in good headsets with dedicated mic and some sort of wind guard. I use a gaming headset and it’s super comfortable and does a good job of blocking out sounds. Will run you around $100 or less.
    – some sort of room divider, the taller and more soundproofing (think fabrics) the better. If you can install a sliding door or heavy curtains across the length of the room, perfect
    – make sure your companies are actually ok with this! Some would not be OK with a spouse overhearing your work calls all day (and possibly your work audio showing up in the background of your spouse’s work call)
    – a shared calendar where you can try to coordinate not being on calls/important calls at the same time as much as possible

  30. em*

    Ooh, great question. I share a very small office with my system. What we do to make it bearable:

    – our in-office days don’t coincide, so we each have some time alone in our home office
    – headphones for all phone calls when not alone
    – music gets turned off if someone’s on the phone
    – if one of us has headphones for any reason, the other doesn’t try to get their attention
    – staggered lunch and work hours
    – similar to your husband, my sister tends to wander around the house a bit. If I expect to be talking A Lot (like days when I teach or take a class) I move to another room

    Good luck!

  31. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    Please get separate spaces for calls. I am frequently on a call with a colleague whose husband shares an office and I get to hear far too much about his company’s business. It’s a privacy/security risk as well as an annoyance.

  32. I edit everything*

    I would suggest either some kind of noise-suppressing/blocking screen or obstacle between your desks or finding a different way to rearrange. My spouse is a loud talker on calls, and I absolutely cannot work in the same space as him when he’s on a call in our open office space.

    I like the idea of putting the baby in the larger room, with one person’s desk in there–presumably the baby won’t be home during the work day, if you’re both working–or finding work space elsewhere.

    Play around with it while you’re on leave and have some time and flexibility before needing to be on screen/on calls/focusing.

  33. AK*

    will the baby be home during the day? I work from my kids’ room and just make sure to bring my laptop out of the room in the evening so it doesn’t get messed with. we also juggle sleeping space by having a bassinet in the master bedroom for daytime naps if baby is home during the day.

    1. AK*

      Or, do you have a living room? Putting a small desk in that space is also an option. Seems like with 3 bedrooms and presumably a living room, there’s 4 distinct areas and ya’ll could get creative about how to turn them into multi-use areas. Cramming 2 offices together during the day and leaving the other 3 areas unoccupied doesn’t make sense.

  34. Carrie*

    like others have mentioned, noise canceling headphones are an essential, so it’s a good thing you already have some! white noise machines are good, too- you can also experiment with one person or the other playing white noise on spotify or youtube if you don’t want a separate machine. if feasible, a membership at a coworking space might be worth looking into- some let you pay per day, in case there’s ever a time when you’re driving each other nuts or one person just doesn’t want to be in the house. places like wework have little booths where you can take calls.

  35. Potato Potato*

    Everyone else is talking about practical concerns, so I’m gonna talk about communication. Basically, it’s good to have a plan for various conflicts that might come up (like if one of you needs to focus while the other is meeting), but it’s also good to have a plan for talking about those agreements if something isn’t working for one of you.

    Some things to potentially talk about:
    – noise levels and focusing when one of y’all has a meeting
    – boundaries around work- if one of you overhears something interesting, should you pretend like you didn’t? Can you talk about it?
    – boundaries around interruptions- What kinds of interruptions are okay? And when are interruptions not okay? (Maybe this matters less if you aren’t ADHD, but my partner and I are)
    – expectations around childcare- If something comes up, who gets interrupted first? (Not that it has to be the same person every time)
    – planned check-ins around whether anything in this setup needs changing
    – creating intentional time apart if you need that- even if you love each other, 24/7 in the same room can be a lot
    – creating intentional time together if you need that- because co-working isn’t the same thing as connecting, even if you’re in proximity for most of the day

    1. lilyp*

      +1 to planning a 3 or 6 month check-in and chance to rethink or adjust if something isn’t working for either of you!

  36. WFH Lawyer*

    My partner works from home 80 percent of the time and I am 99 percent remote WFH. We concluded that office sharing wouldn’t work because we are both attorneys working at separate firms, so huge confidentiality issues if we worked in the same room/office. I work in the bedroom which isn’t great but it works and on days I have remote depositions or appearances, I either use a virtual background or use his office if I can. We’re investigating moving to a three bedroom apartment/house specifically so I can have a proper office (we’re in a two bed now).

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’m a paralegal who has to Win-L every time my spouse wanders in. We tried working from the same room but within six months we had put our house on the market. It did not work.

      Now he has an office with a whiteboard and a sit-stand desk and a conference call speaker/microphone pod and multiple collaborative calls per day; and I have a neat desk and a kneeling chair and over-ear headphones on a whole separate floor, with two doors between us. The move may have saved both our jobs and additionally our marriage

    2. Tempeh for Timmeh!*

      Why would anyone want to hire a lawyer than is 99% work from home? Part of the process of developing a theory of the case is brainstorming and teamwork.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        There’s lots of different kinds of lawyers. Lots of legal work is very procedural and doesn’t require reinventing the wheel.

  37. JLC*

    My husband and I both work from home and have meeting heavy schedules. There is no way we could share an office – too much noise and distraction. Half the year my husband put a desk in our basement and I use our office. The other half the year, when we winter in the south, I have a desk in our bedroom and he uses the office. It works just fine for us this way.

  38. Escaped A Series of Unfortunate Events*

    My partner and I both work from home, and have most of the time since 2016. For several years early on, our desks were right next to each other!

    Meetings are the hardest; invest in noise cancelling headphones or a room divider, or consider having a desk in another room if one of you is always meeting-heavy. Now, with both of us in meetings 2 to 6 hours a day, we wouldn’t be able to make it work sitting next to each other without more to buffer sound. If you’re often on video, a room divider or background will help keep it looking and sounding like you’re the only one on the call.

    Otherwise, be as considerate as you would if you were sharing an office with a coworker – keep things tidy, and it helps a ton to have dedicated desks for each of you (which it sounds like you will).

    Depending on your personalities, try not to gossip or comment on their calls unless they initiate it. Sometimes, there’s a crazy boss or client, or a meeting goes off the rails, or something sounds absolutely nuts to you – but the other person needs to manage it in their mind in their own way. Feeding into venting or negative talk can turn into a vicious cycle if you’re not careful. From my own experience, what *was* nice was if you hear something that sounded like it went well, or they sounded calm and collected when others were freaking out to mention it – I liked hearing my partner comment “whoa, you did really well there” .

    Also, make sure you two spend time apart! Having offices vs sharing a space is a different dynamic. It will help to take turns with one person leaving the house, even just to run errands or grocery shop, and let the other person have space alone (with the baby) for a bit.

  39. She of Many Hats*

    1) What type of data are you both working with? Do your job duties require handling sensitive or protected information? Screens or desk layout may be enough to resolve but calls may be another issue.

    2) Can you both deal with the other’s style of working and how you maintain your work areas? Is there a lot of physical stuff to keep track of and use? Does one need more physical space than the other?

    3) How does it impact your taxes sharing the space?

    4) How does each respective company require you to track home-office expenses and how will you two sort those out?

    5) You will almost literally be in each other’s space 24/7 where you had some separation with different rooms. How will you make space in your relationship and day from each other? Can you keep personal life issues from invading the office space? How much of an impact of seeing so much of each other’s Work Persona affect your relationship?

    1. KToo*

      5) You will almost literally be in each other’s space 24/7 where you had some separation with different rooms. How will you make space in your relationship and day from each other? Can you keep personal life issues from invading the office space? How much of an impact of seeing so much of each other’s Work Persona affect your relationship?

      So much this. I don’t think many people realize how draining it is to be around your partner 24/7. My husband and I met at work 20 years ago, and still both do approximately the same job for the same company. When we were working from the office we didn’t spend lunch together, didn’t talk much during the day, and tried to not have desks near each other where we could hear the other. When people said, “I could never work with my spouse all the time”, my answer was always how more rows of desks – preferably a conference room – between us is what made it bearable. Since early 2020 we’ve both been WFH full time and our office set-ups are at opposite ends of our house. Our relationship could never have survived otherwise.

      1. Local Garbage Committee*

        With a new baby too! Obviously everyone has relationship dynamics, but I am firmly team ‘Set yourselves up for success by not sharing office space’ whatever that looks like.

    2. kalli*

      Tax is a big one as some regions allow you to calculate WFH expenses with a default calculation rather than actual expenses – where I live they give a per-hour rate for utilities and consumables and you can choose to use that multiplied by how many hours you work from home, or you can itemise all your expenses with your own percentage of WFH vs regular home use, and it’s not allowed to double up in the one household if you’re using the per-hour calculation; it’s designed so that if you just bring your laptop home once a week or you’re not good at maths you can claim your electricity without having to provide bills and go to an accountant for help, not to be an accurate breakdown of different jobs and spaces, and doesn’t account for providing one-off equipment (e.g. last financial year I claimed for a laptop battery and a monitor, and used the per-hour rate for electricity, pens and post-its, and it was approved without me needing to provide receipts). I note the letter does imply that there’s discrete infrastructure, but if they’re both using electricity at the same time that’s not going to be able to be claimed twice!

  40. Juicebox Hero*

    They sell noise cancelling or reducing room dividers that are made of similar stuff to cubicle walls, and are either folding or modular.

    There are also sound-blocking curtains. Install a rod down the middle of the room and just pull the curtain when you’re both working in there.

  41. Pottery Yarn*

    We have reconfigured around the house several times since the start of the pandemic, and in almost every configuration, we’ve had one person in the living room (usually my husband, who is unbothered if the TV is on). I was also in the nursery for several months when my baby was still little, so that’s another option. Now our WFH days are staggered so we’re only home together one day a week, which has helped eliminate a lot of the interference as well.

  42. Caramel & Cheddar*

    Noise cancelling headphones and sharing your calendars so that if someone else is in a meeting, your own calendar is blocked off. Doesn’t work 100% of the time in terms of overlapping meetings, but significantly reduces the number of conflicts.

    1. kalli*

      We actually have a physical calendar to mark off appointments and calls because I can’t share my calendar outside the organisation and my dad only has his personal calendar as part of his email and doesn’t really know how to use it. I put my things on the main calendar and he copies anything he needs to know/avoid onto his personal calendar by his workspace.

      It also helps us for planning trips and family events because then he can refer to it without waiting for me to help him access my calendar and he can see it when he’s on a call but not at the computer, there’s one spot that we can both see easily with everything on it, colour coded, and it acts as a visual cue for him to check my schedule and remember his appointments and for me to remind him of the ones he’s likely to forget. Not everyone needs the latter though.

  43. Dido*

    presumably you’re going to have child care if you’re both working and on calls all day, so you can double up the nursey and an office in the bigger room

  44. Elle*

    We’re both at home and prefer to be apart for all the reasons mentioned above. I have a small standing desk and chair in the corner of my bedroom. It doesn’t take up much space and I have privacy when needed.

  45. taking my own advice*

    I highly recommend high quality earphones/headset with really good noise cancelling, such as Bose or Apple AirPods Pro 2.

  46. LucyGoosy*

    Make sure your internet has the bandwidth to support multiple zoom calls at the same time. That was the biggest issue my husband and I encountered during the pandemic, so it might be worth doing some at-home tests.

  47. Currently Working From a 20" Keyboard Shelf*

    do you have a underused closet, alcove or corner of your home where your husband’s work setup could fit? if he likes to move around during the day it might actually be easier on both of you to have it out in a more centralized location – I would personally get distracted by him coming & going in the office room.

  48. KToo*

    Do you have space anywhere else in your home to make a work area for one of you? Dining room, living room, kitchen space, basement? My husband and I both work from home 100% of the time for over 3 years now and we have separate spaces at the furthest points from each other as possible, even though it means he has a smaller desk area in a nook in our living room. I was working hybrid for awhile already when the whole pandemic thing happened, so I already had an office/craft room, but we needed to find space for him. Sure, our living room isn’t as aesthetically pleasing now, but it was our only option since I need more quiet to focus and he’s on the phone over half the day.

  49. Rach*

    I have shared an office with my husband since 2020(I was always fully remote). We do not have room for a screen but if we have conflicting meetings one of us moved to the kitchen. Outside of that, noise cancelling headphones are a godsend. I like the company while I do get a little territorial. We have lunch and walk the dog together. You just adapt. In an open plan office you would likely sit right next to someone. I would say it has more plusses than negatives

  50. a clockwork lemon*

    Are you able to unplug from each other enough in the same space that you won’t be bothered by idiosyncracies in work style? For example, will it bother you if your husband jumps around from task to task throughout the day or he handles something differently than you would have? Do either of you talk to yourselves while you work? Will you find it deeply unattractive if you overhear him on a call and think he sounded like a jerk?

    For example, my husband needs a quiet environment in order to sustain any amount of deep focus whereas I think one of the best parts about WFH is that I can listen to music without wearing headphones. I tend to pace when I’m on long calls, and he finds that level of movement to be very distracting. These preferences are total non-issues because we don’t share a workspace, but they make a big difference in each of our respective abilities to get stuff done and would be big work-related quality of life issues if we had to share a small office.

  51. Weighted Planket*

    My partner and I shared a home office throughout the pandemic. I am a writer and he is a tech worker. He tends to be chatty and would somehow always want to talk to me when I was really trying to smash out words and not get distracted. The biggest thing that helped is I got a silly cozy hat to wear whenever I was trying to focus and didn’t want him to talk to me. If I had the hat on, no talking to me!

    1. kalli*

      I made one of those spinny signs for the door and included ‘working please don’t interrupt’ and ‘working come get me if you need me’ as locations. My new WFH area is in a shared purpose space so I also have ‘sleeping’, ‘out’, ‘gaming’, and ‘migraine’ options so my dad can tell at a glance where I am in my space and whether it’s ok to come in or if I’m working on confidential stuff or have my headphones in and won’t know he’s talking to me (vs knowing someone is talking but not what they’re saying because I can’t see them hence the ‘come get me’ part). He leaves notes on the kitchen table if he’s going out to see a friend or doing a job so if I’m looking for him and there isn’t a note I know he’s around somewhere. Setting that expectation of ‘how to quickly communicate status’ is really important and doing it early on means it quite often takes!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      We both WFH and don’t share an office, but mine is a repurposed family room (from the mid-80s when houses had both a living room and a family room?) so it’s mostly open to the rest of the house and just off the kitchen, plus the dogs hang out in here with me most of the day, so he comes by quite frequently. I put up a smart light strip up one side of the entryway to my office that is green during my work hours, and I change it to blue when I’m on a call or something but not on video (so he can come in to see the pups but he has to be quiet) and red when my camera is on (so he knows not to come in OR try to talk to me from the hallway). Then it turns itself off at the end of my workday as a visual reminder to me to close up shop. :)

  52. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    Another vote for “consider other spaces”. I shared a 3BR house with my two sons. When older son moved across the country for work, I turned his room into my home office. (That was before fulltime WFH, but we were still expected to WFH on occasional evenings/weekends in case of emergencies, as well as when we were contagious but not too sick to work, snowed in during a blizzard, etc) Then he moved back in! I set up a WFH space for myself in the finished part of the basement. It wasn’t ideal – on one side of my work space was the built-in desk that my mom loved to sit at whenever she came over to my house and that was almost every day, on the other side were a pool table, treadmill, and elliptical that my sons used to work out – but it worked. (And the baby isn’t going to be able, or wanting, to work out in the basement for at least a few more years.)

  53. TurtlesAllTheWayDown*

    We moved to a new place literally 3 months before the pandemic and working from home began. If we had known, we would have set up what is my kids’ playroom as a home office instead of the repository of all toys, but here we are.
    My husband is permanently remote and I WFH 3 days a week. Somehow we actually kind of enjoy sharing space with each other? It is kind of like being around a coworker, and I share an office at work too so am somewhat used to another person’s calls, etc. We do have a space where I will pop over to in another room when we both have calls at the same time and need to speak (he has some calls that are just listening calls), since I’m on a laptop and more portable. Zoom backgrounds are your friend. We check in each morning about when we have meetings that might overlap so I know if I will need to sit somewhere else for a bit. I have a tiny desk in our bedroom for this (my personal computer setup sits there too). It is not an unmanageable situation with some good communication.

  54. Stoney Lonesome*

    My partner and I used to both work full time from home. He is still WFH and I am hybrid. We have one office in our house. He uses the office most of the time. I actually prefer to work from the kitchen table. When I have a meeting, I just close his office door. I’ll also give my partner a heads up if I have an important meeting and I would prefer he not come into the kitchen during a certain period of time.

    The only time we have an issue is occasionally he has a meeting here he is sharing sensitive data and it would be a security breach for me to overhear. Nowadays, I work just don’t work from home on those days. When we were both full time WFM, I would work from the backyard during that time if the weather was nice. Otherwise, I would go to a coffee shop or to my sister’s house.

    There was a time when we both had home offices, but honestly, I never used mine. If your partner only uses his office for calls, it’ll probably be fine. Just find a new system for privacy during his calls.

  55. Jen*

    My husband and I lasted a week sharing space. I’ve since migrated to the room that is also the kids’ playroom/study space because chaos on the occasional daycare/school day off was better than hearing my husband’s Slack ding constantly. I got a desk with wheels so that I become somewhat mobile at Christmastime because the area where my desk is where the tree goes.

    I have a similar situation. I have meetings, my husband likes to code while listening to YouTube at 2x speed. I’ve had my own office my entire career. The only way it would work otherwise was if we turned the office room into a cube farm.

  56. iKit*

    Being sure to arrange the desks to ensure cameras don’t catch the other is great but my main concern is whether you guys would risk being overheard on each other’s calls sharing company proprietary information. Or just being overheard. Would your company question overhearing him when you have a call/meeting? Would his company question overhearing you when he does? Would one of you being overheard being a career impacting situation?

    Another concern I have is work style. How much distraction can each of you put up with? You say he moves around alot. Will he be constantly coming in and out of the office space? Will that be a distraction for you? Will that interrupt your meetings or your work flow and cause you to constantly be restarting or picking back up your tasks? And as for distractions… what about visual clutter? Some people (looking at certain neurodivergents) don’t do well with visual clutter whereas others simply CANNOT be “neat” because it sends them into sensory overdrive. Are either of you more or less messy? Would THAT cause either of you distress? I’m AuDHD myself and my home office/desk is COVERED in various toys/fidget/stim items. In past jobs (prior to receiving my diagnosis) that stressed out coworkers because it made my space look like a chaotic mess.

    And… you’re married. You live together. You both already work from home most of the time. Having separate, or mostly, separate work spaces gives you the chance to have some time apart during the day. Combining the work spaces may be practical but it really cuts out that time apart. Are you ready for the challenges of losing that “you” time? Have you thought about or discussed that with him? Do you get that kind of time elsewhere?

    1. Anon for This*

      I want to emphasize that last paragraph. I love the convenience of my WFH days, but because my spouse is a housespouse, it also means I’m around my spouse all day; even if I close the door, I can hear them. Going to the office, while a pain because of the commute, is great for getting away from my spouse for a few hours; I can appreciate them more when I don’t have them constantly around.

  57. C*

    I am seconding everyone else to say this is practically impossible. We tried this and immediately had to look into figuring out a new solution after only a few weeks. My husband and I are on calls most of the day and we cannot be in the same room for confidentiality reasons. Even aside from confidentiality, both of us are loud speakers, and are easily picked up on the other’s mics, even noise cancelling headphones don’t work. We also both have mechanical keyboards, which compounds the issue. We functionally cannot both be on client calls at the same time. I usually work around the house currently while we wait to redo our garage to get new dedicated individual offices spaces.

  58. BirdFriendCoral*

    It may be out of the budget (for me it is, right now), but they make soundproof booths you can build and install inside a home office, for calls. My spouse isn’t working right now, but when he is, the plan is for us to share an office — and I’m dreading it. but also eyeing one of those booths.

  59. Former call centre worker*

    My partner and I work sitting next to each other on the sofa. If we’re both on calls at the same time the other participants in my call can hear him in the background and vice versa, but I only need to go and sit 2m away at the table to solve that problem. I don’t have many calls and an almost 100% remote so I enjoy the company. It’s only a problem when I get NDA’d on something and have to take calls about it but it’s easy enough to go sit in another room for that

  60. BreadBurglar*

    We did this in our old flat. We used an Ikea Kallax to separate the sides of the room with my desk on one side and his on the other. Most of the squares had stuff in them to provide a blocker. It gave us space for storage and also a clear divide between workspaces.

    I think it can be doable so long as you both respect eachothers space. The bigger issue is how much you contribute in meetings. I had less meetings and could stay on mute for most of them and left the room for ones I couldnt. That will be the big issue and might be why this feels different to regular open plan. Because you work for 2 different companies and dont want your business discussions being overheard by the other company. Not necessarily because of fears of bad behaviour but because it just feels weird.

  61. Fiona*

    I am in literally this exact situation!!!! Three bedroom apartment, where two of the bedrooms are currently our offices. I will be moving into my husband’s office and turning mine into a nursery. I know realistically the baby won’t be sleeping in there for a while, but mentally I think I need it to be a calm, dedicated baby space so I’d rather not mix the purposes.

    Work-wise, my husband is on meetings ALL day. Not exaggerating. All day. I don’t have meetings but my work requires deep periods of focus. The issue with both our jobs is that we do creative visual work which requires large monitors, etc – my job deals with secure content and I have to be connected to a special server via ethernet. So it’s difficult for us to just roam around the apartment and work from the couch or the kitchen counter. For calls, I can step out of the office but I think I will have to invest in really good noise-canceling wired headphones. Excited to see other advice offered here.

  62. Don't Hate The Office*

    We can’t. And I can’t work from the kitchen. He has too many loud calls. Our bedroom doesn’t have room for a desk. So I jumped at the chance to go back to work in an office.

  63. Js0nX*

    My husband and I permanently share a home office (full-time for about 3 years), and it’s great! We love spending so much time together, even though we work independently on completely different things.

    When we started, the main concern was noise (my voice tends to carry well, and I can be a bit loud on social calls). However, it hasn’t been an issue. We wear noise-canceling headphones, remind each other of meetings (especially important or customer-facing calls), moved our desks to opposite corners, and I try to be thoughtful and catch myself if I get too loud. We’ve also discussed our preferences surrounding interruptions, the workspace, video (I’m in his background), etc..

    Generally, I think the key is clear communication surrounding your needs and preferences. If you’ve been fine in an open office and you already communicate with your husband well, it hopefully won’t be a huge issue.

  64. Contracts Killer*

    Is there another space in your home that could work? We have a small sitting room with a fireplace. It’s an open space right next to the kitchen, so I didn’t consider it for an office at first. However, no one is around most of my day, so I don’t need to worry about distractions from the kitchen. When my family is home, they know to stay out of my area if they can. If they can’t, I use headphones.

  65. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

    We ended up putting the person with the least amount of desk time (husband) in a desk in the master bedroom to keep the offices separate. We moved some of the extra stuff out of the master to the office to make room and got him a more compact desk. He doesn’t use his camera often so that also worked out better.

  66. poutinerie*

    It’s doable – at least for us!

    We have been sharing an office together since March 2020 across two different homes and three different rooms. Even before we had our kid, we shared an office. It’s nice to have a “desk mate” to bounce ideas off of (we work in similar roles for different organizations) and because our lives are so busy with a toddler, it’s great to connect throughout the day when it’s a little tougher to do so when toddler routine hits after work.

    For privacy, we use blurred backgrounds on calls and one of us leaves the room if we have competing calls. Since 2020, both of us have increased responsibility and sensitivity in our work, so we have invested in good noise cancelling headphones. My manager specifically has asked me in the past if I’m alone, to put on head phones, and/or leave the room if we’re discussing something confidential or sensitive. I can’t recall any conflict on sharing the space, but we’re both easy going and can focus if someone is a little noisy/disruptive.

    We haven’t invested in any room dividers and don’t see the need to. Ultimately, I think it depends on personalities and work styles.

  67. Emily Dickinson*

    My partner and I shared a home office before it was a global pandemic. We have our backs to each other and use blur. I often put headphones on to listen to my own stuff if he’s having meetings and vice versa. No confidentiality issues here. However, his role has changed and he’s now in meetings way more – so he will often go upstairs and use the living room instead now. We organize a switch mid afternoon so I am upstairs when the kids get home.

  68. Husband+Wife Remote Work Over 3 Years*

    This is so dependent on your relationship with your husband, phsyical space available, and work needs (as you can tell from the varied experiences in the comments).

    From my experience, both my husband and I are remote (I go into the office as needed, he never does). We were remote before we had a kid. He set up his work space in the bedroom, I set it up in the guest bedroom (there is a third studio-like area in the basement where guests mostly stay). After the kid, the guest bedroom became the kid’s bedroom. I moved to our bedroom because our basement studio space it was too much of a pain to move my entire set up every time we had guests. My husband does not spend as much time locked to the computer and needs less office space, so he moved to the living room.

    Depending on my work, I will even take my laptop to the living and dining area for a change. Both of us have also taken our laptops to the basement to make calls if needed, when the space was open and free of guests.

    Basically, we’ve learned to make the entire house part of our offices. Assess each of your work needs and the total space you can use to make it work.

    Best of luck!

  69. Era*

    Even if you don’t have confidentiality issues, do think about a space to take a private call in! I know I personally don’t want to take 1:1s or performance evaluation-type calls with my partner listening in, even if I have no reason to believe it’ll be negative or anything. My work is casual enough I often do those from a lounge chair on the balcony! If one or both of you is working from a laptop, some other ways to get a relatively neutral/professional background for calls I’ve used include a little TV Tray table in front of the couch (better angle than just setting it on your lap) or the dining room table (depending on the backdrop, practically indistinguishable from a desk).

  70. Delta Delta*

    Do you have another space in your house where one of you could go? I carved out a spot in our basement that ended up being a good solution when Mr. Delta and I were both WFH most of the time. I was able to position a desk/table in a corner so I can have a blank wall as a background. Got some nice lighting and a rug and a space heater, and it worked out okay. I only bring this up in case there is a spot like this (basement, sun porch, three-season room, garage attic, whatever) that is possible but perhaps overlooked. The other thing that’s sort of nice about using an overlooked spot, like a basement, is that if it’s out of the way, it’s out of your field of vision most of the time so you’re not walking past it, thinking about work.

    Otherwise, I’m seconding the idea of a screen to divide the room, and adding some soundproofing to each side to help absorb the sound. Along with good headsets/headphones.

  71. mytummyhurtsbutimbeingbraveaboutit*

    What about one of those co-working spaces for the days your husband has a lot of calls? We’ve had a bunch pop up near me.

  72. LabRat*

    My husband and I were in a one bedroom apartment (basically a glorified studio, there were no doors except on the bathroom) when covid hit. Both of us got noise cancelling headphones, and positioned our desks so that our backs were to each other.

    Honestly, I hated it. We could hear each other’s calls, people on our calls could hear our partner. And even when I wasn’t in a call, it was SO HARD to focus with half a conversation happening directly behind me. Fortunately we moved to a 2 bedroom that has doors, probably saving our marriage. My desk is still in the living room, but at least I can close a door between him and me during the work day.

    1. Bruce*

      My wife had to teach 3rd graders over the net March to June 2020, we’d moved to a small rental house after we got married and then my 2 sons came home during the lock down. It was >very< stressful for everyone. She retired from teaching that June, and sons were able to move back to their school or their job, but for a few months it was very cramped…

      1. LabRat*

        Oh wow, that would be BRUTAL. I don’t know how folks with kids managed it, and I wish them pillows of precisely the correct temperature for the rest of their lives.

  73. Milton's Swingline Stapler*

    I too was set to loose my home office to my 2nd kid. We’re technically in a five br house (it’s not big, just very efficiently laid out with reasonably sized rooms), but we need a dedicated guest room for in-laws who visit to help with child care. Everything was great until I found out I was pregnant with kid two. My husband is fully remote and I’m hybrid (3 days WFH/2 days on site). I was really anxious about loosing my space and just kept putting off the transition to baby room. For the first three months my baby slept in a beside-the-bed bassinet so that wasn’t an issue. When she was ready to transition to a crib outside of our room, I took a long hard look at the space and realized I could make it work. The room is just big enough to fit the changing table, mini crib, and rocking chair for the kid, plus my desk. I don’t have it decorated in overtly “nursery” décor, and use the blur feature on Zoom and Teams. It’s not ideal, but having my own work space is absolutely worth it. Of course once she’s a little older and ready for her own room, I may have to revisit this, or start getting them used to the idea of sharing a room. But for now it works!

    1. allathian*

      Get them to share a room now, the sooner the better. The younger they are, the easier it is to adapt. If she’s never had her own room, she won’t miss it.

  74. WFH 4ever*

    This could depend on where baby will be during the day (at home vs daycare, etc.) As others have mentioned, your baby likely won’t spend much time in the nursery for a while. But you still need a place for all the “stuff”. What if the larger room was half nursery, half husband’s office?
    My previous boss was on video calls for a year with a crib in the background and no one thought anything of it. (If it was me, I’d orient the desk another direction.)
    Since you are on more calls, you would have the quiet and privacy of the smaller room.

  75. Raisse*

    Both of us work from home too. Wife has the study and I have the dining room (both adjoining the living room) because she needs the desktop AND the laptop AND the drawing tablet, and I need the 1×2 meter table. The living room is between us. We can sort of see and hear each other but it bothers neither of us. Occasionally we go for a “working lunch” meaning we eat out and bitch about work :-)

  76. Bruce*

    Put one desk in your shared bedroom… chose who gets to use it based on who has calls that can run late into the evening.

  77. Pyjamas*

    Largest bedroom: office
    Middle bedroom: baby
    Smallest bedroom: you

    Of course you could switch the last two around. But make sure baby’s room has room for a rocker or comfortable chair.

    Still, the larger the office room, the easier to separate space, and anyway it’s better for sleep hygiene to keep tv etc out of bedroom

  78. margarita water*

    We set up a small workstation in our living room so we could connect to a monitor and use that when we have calls at the same time.

  79. trans_worker*

    If your husband is mostly at his desk for calls (so presumably doesn’t need a clunky monitor setup, etc) could he put his laptop and a small desk in a common area?

  80. Busy Middle Manager*

    You don’t include where you live and in what proximity to your jobs, but this letter screams for the need to re-think WFH at all. I would be asking husband to go back 80% of the time if I were you.

    You’re using your house as an office building and not a house. Many of the solutions, even with the comments being good, have downsides.

    For example: most dining room table or “desk in corner of room” are horrible for your back and ergonomically. You may not feel the pain now but you will after 40. You need to invest in a real desk and chair setup and most ergonomic chairs take up alot of space. So there goes 1/2 the living room. Fine if you’re committed to WFH I guess

    Your relationship – are you sure being together 100% of the time long-term is going to be good for your relationship? This is the type of situation that leads to people getting BEC with eachother. At the very least, it can kill the excitement in a relationship. What’s to talk about? You are on top of each other all day.

    Mental health – most people citing mental health with regards to WFH are citing not having to commute. If your commute was manageable and work location half decent, getting out of the house will be good for your mental health. Just the variety alone can good for your mood and brain, try new lunch spots, say hi to someone new everyday, find someplace on the way home to walk. Obviously dependent on where you live, but I refuse to believe that no one lives near a place where they can’t make a trip to the office slightly interesting (granted I am spoiled in this regard because my office is in a nice downtown that is walkable with 20 lunch options).

    For me, the predictability of WFH everyday really weighed on me. It felt like living to work and not working to live. Boundaries between work and life disappeared. I was also slouching more and not walking as much even when I put effort into doing more steps, and over time that starts to impact your physical health. It was also easier just to eat at the chipotle type place near my office than spending an hour cooking a similar meal for myself (and sometimes spending way more money on ingredients and then not using them all). Even if I was alone, just sitting outside the office at lunch was more stimulating for my brain than the same four walls.

      1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        Likewise. The thought of going into the office every day is like trying to put my personality back into a bottle.

    1. Tempeh for Timmeh!*

      This is exactly right. Work from home is stultifying for all but the most introverted (and I wouldn’t want those for employees or coworkers)!

  81. french fry*

    Is it possible to “hot desk” in your home? As so many people have noted, the biggest issue will likely be calls/videoconferencing. We have a designated call space in our house with a desk and ability to close the door to home noise. I tend to work at the dining room table or living room floor when I’m not on calls as I prefer to sit at a big table or on the floor to spread my work stuff out. This system would work best if you and your partner have distinctly different call/videoconferencing schedules, and are cool with the space not designated for calls.
    During the pandemic when there were three of us working/schooling from home we did have to use a bedroom and the dining room and the designated call space so each of us could videoconference at the same time without interrupting each other. We all used headsets to further reduce any chance of picking up noise from each other from separate rooms. The trickiest part of this scenario is that the person in the dining room had to have their space respected by the other two people (i.e. had to wait until lunch break to come into the space). The person who worked in the bedroom made it work only because they used a standing desk prior to the pandemic and they didn’t mind working on a wall mounted computer and resting on the bed when they weren’t online. Furniture that works for you both WILL be essential.
    Good luck, OP!

  82. Sack of Benevolent Trash Marsupials*

    My husband and I work from the same office space at home. He is full-time remote and I am hybrid – 3 days WFH/2 days in office. We both have noise-cancelling headphones, but honestly, they don’t help that much (as others have noted).

    My solutions: (1) if I have control over my calls, schedule at a time he doesn’t have any (his calls are regular and mine tend not to be), (2) take calls that don’t require me to be in front of my computer in another room or outside, and (3) go into the office for things like performance reviews, or any other meetings or calls that would be super awkward to be sharing a space for.

    It actually has worked out surprisingly well for us. We manage to keep call clashes to a minimum, and both our workplaces are pretty cool with it when they do happen. It’s not a possibility for us to have different spaces in our house due to room configuration and crappy wifi upstairs. Good luck!

  83. Beth*

    Definitely get high quality gamer headphones that cover both ears – I’m using those as construction literally happens over my head and no one can hear it and I can turn volume up to hear enough. Also get a white noise machine for the shared office room. Lastly, definitely set up an alternative spot in the house that’s an option for when you both have calls – especially important ones where you’ll both be talking a lot. Perhaps even invest in extra equipment to make it easy to switch to it – extra monitor, mouse, power bar for quickly plugging in, etc.

  84. Kim*

    I work entirely from home and my spouse has gone from entirely from home to 50/50 hybrid work over the past few years. Our place is a tiny one bedroom so we both work from the same main room.
    There have definitely been some bumps as we’ve figured things out and half of the solution is tech based (noise cancelling headphones and headset mics have worked wonders) and the other half is communication based (I.e. letting each other know when we have meetings or are about to join a call, and waiting till you have the other’s attention before speaking). It really feels like the same courtesy you’d offer people in a communal office but took some getting used to and establishing those lines because we don’t need to be so formal with each other in the rest of our lives.
    Good luck and congrats on your baby!

  85. Jolene*

    My wife and I had this exact problem. We ended up putting a very small cheap desk (like 30 bucks IKEA) in the corner of our bedroom, that gets used as emergency overflow if needed.

    I’m not able to be productive from that desk – too small (we were limited on space), doesn’t feel “settled in,” etc. – but my wife is more adaptive/focused and is fine working there when needed. (Both woman – it’s not a gender thing; its an ADHD v. No ADHD thing).

    It’s not ideal. And even worse bc our “office” is also the “guest room” with a fold out couch, where MIL stays from time to time.

    We have very mobile work set ups – laptops, external monitors that are meant to be portable, Bluetooth accessories, Wi-Fi, no landlines, etc. So we can pick up and find a way to make it work as needed.

  86. CLC*

    I don’t think this is going to work well. When I worked in an open office space, I could tolerate people on my direct team talking on the phone so much more than my cube neighbors who worked on different subject matter I wasn’t involved with and didn’t understand. A coworker mentioned that it’s been proven that someone having a conversation (or half a conversation) is much more distracting to people if they don’t understand the content or the language (it always seems more distracting to me is someone is one the phone speaking a different language I don’t understand). My husband works on the other side of the house but talks loudly and it is still so distracting to me! Plus, especially with the stress of a new baby, being in the same house all the time with your partner can really wear down your nerves and your relationship. Being in the same room seems worse. I wonder if you can get more creative with a solution? Is there anywhere else in the house a smaller workspace could be set up in a corner somewhere? If equity in the size or comfort in the two workspaces is then an issue, maybe make the larger office the baby’s bedroom and make the smaller office the office? Or—and this may not be ideal—trade workspaces every month or something?

    1. Bit o' Brit*

      That’s weird, I find the opposite. A language I don’t understand is much easier to tune out, and if the speaker has a nice voice can be soothing background noise, while a language I know is engaging my language processing whether I like it or not and is impossible to ignore.

  87. Prorata*

    Do you have a basement? If so, and if it isn’t an absolute pit with bats and so-forth, consider some light remodeling and make it into an office.

    Or, if you don’t mind cracking open the checkbook and your neighborhood won’t have kittens over it, buy a small camper trailer, park it on your driveway and outfit it as an office – or if you have a backyard with a bit of space, build a writer’s shed for an office.

    But ultimately, I think you should invest in a movable partition, and probably marriage counseling.

    Good luck.

  88. kalli*

    Honestly, the best way to figure this out is for the two of you to work in the same room for a week now and identify pain points – not just can you take calls in the same room without disturbing each other (e.g. my dad takes calls in his hearing aids so I can’t hear the other end but he speaks very loudly and i can often distinguish words from the other end of the house whereas he normally talks very quietly) and is there enough room for you both to have separate desks with accommodation for being able to stretch, meet WHS and confidentiality requirements, access stable internet and other practical requirements, but does it add to your stress to have someone in the room with you? Do you feel more or less tired at the end of the day? Does it detract from your focus? Can you both listen to the same music when you’re not on calls? How can you communicate with each other while you’re working and does the same practice carry over to being in the same room? Do you have cumulative mental space to also consider your child later on? What do you need to access when you’re on calls – does one of you naturally gravitate to a breakout space or are you both needing full access to your work materials? Do you need to also consider having a fridge/break/snack space in the room or will you leave the room for breaks or can you eat at your desk? Will you need separate bins? Will one of you be responsible for cleaning or will you clean your own areas – who does that now and will that change when the space between them isn’t delineated as clearly? Do you share materials and stationery?

    Then you’ll have bullet points on what your shared space needs to address and can identify whether you can make that happen in the one room currently, need to add furniture or redesign the space to accommodate this, or if you need to think outside the room for a solution to some or all of them. Otherwise all we can really do is ask you questions and say what we’ve done, and our situations aren’t the same as yours – some commenters bought entire new houses, others have plenty of alternate spaces, others are hybrid, some of us are in different countries with different WFH standards, expectations and taxation requirements.

  89. JAnon*

    My husband and I have extra rooms, but one office that is actually set up like an office, and just an old desk in a bedroom that we used once he started working from home full time as well ( I have been remote since 2020). We talk each week/morning about what we both have that day and discuss who gets “the” office that day and the other works from the other room, the couch, the kitchen, wherever they want. You could have that same communication around your calls and who needs a solo room and when.

  90. All Het Up About It*

    My S.O. and I only shared an office for a few days during the first year of the pandemic. I was surprised with how much I would forget he was in there. Out of sight, out of mind. My biggest suggestion is to try this out now before you HAVE to figure it out. Move his desk in and shut his office door for the next month and see how it all goes. If he likes to move around during the day, it might not be so bad. Or you might be right and it might be time to look at alternate plans/places as suggested above.

  91. BottleBlonde*

    My roommate and I both work from home (me full time, her twice a week). We both have our main setups in the same room. I also have a small table and chair in my bedroom that I can use for calls. When we’re both home, I just move back and forth to the bedroom for any calls I have. It’s not 100% ideal to move back and forth, but it works for us, and it’s much better than one of us having to work from our bedrooms all of the time. So maybe consider a small meeting setup in another room?

  92. WFH 4eva*

    I’ve been sharing an office with my husband since March 2020. It works fine. It’s a large room, and his desk is along one wall, while my desk is on another wall. I can see him if I look to my right, but he’d have to completely turn around to see me. I’m on camera for probably half my meetings, but he’s rarely on camera, so our setup means we don’t usually end up in each other’s backgrounds. Also, neither of us have a lot of meetings, but if we have conflicting meetings, one of us usually moves to another room. We generally do a quick check-in at the beginning of the work day about meetings to see if either of us needs to move.
    Honestly, I love getting to spend extra time with him. I joke that he’s my coworker even though we have different jobs.

  93. Michelle Smith*

    I don’t have children but all of my coworkers are partnered and some have children. Here’s what I know from what they do:

    * One pair has separate workstations in separate rooms. One has a corner of the living room, next to a window with nice natural light. The other works out of a dedicated second bedroom that was converted into an office.
    * One colleague works from their kitchen and just blurs their background.
    * Another works from her dining room table.
    * Another pair uses a room divider so they can’t be seen on each other’s calls, but otherwise work out of the same room. I haven’t asked if the noise bothers each other, but I’ve also never heard her partner’s voice on our calls so it has never been an issue on my end.

    Another thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is software. When I had to record things for my graduate school classes, I used to use something called Krisp to try to remove some of the background noise from my multiple fans, portable AC, neighbors, etc. If your company allows you to use your own equipment, or if you have reason to believe IT might be receptive to the request, consider looking into background noise reducing software like Krisp so that you don’t have to be concerned that others on your calls can hear your spouse when you’re both working.

  94. argus*

    My husband and I built a partial wall out of Ikea Kallax bookshelves. It helps with the noise a lot more than a simple divider. It’s not perfect, and if we are at all able to take calls away from the desk, we try. I like to walk around the block while on calls to get some exercise.

  95. Prorata*

    1. Assuming you have a basement, remodel and outfit as office space. Add a few bats, for ambiance
    2. Small travel trailer, parked in the driveway. The neighbors may not like it, but who cares? Your driveway, your business.
    3. Writers shed – examples are George Bernard Shaw’s shed, Alexander Graham Bell’s, and Cheryl’s She-Shed, at least until it caught fire.
    4. Probably the easiest, put up a movable partition, buy good noise-cancelling headphones, and invest in marriage counseling.

    Good Luck

      1. Thatoneoverthere*

        LOL at the bats.

        I had a friend that actually built a shed for working purposes bc her and her husband really needed separate spaces.

  96. inkognyto*

    1) 75% of the time? that’s not 3/5 or is it 4/5 days which is 80%?

    The biggest issue is one person is on calls all the time.
    This would a distraction. Dividers or not. It also creates a problem if there’s speakers and not headsets.

    If I had to work in the same office. I’d ask each person use ear buds or something similar so the speakers on laptops are not used. This is a work privacy thing, and it’s considerate.
    Then you play low volume simple music. This creates white noise, it doesn’t even need to be ‘in’ the office just in the house.

    If it were me? I’d probably just put get a desk on wheels that lock. roll it into the living room/tv room/dining room and work there. You are not using it during the day. Then you each have ‘space’ then move it back later.

  97. Adereterial*

    I used to work with someone who shared an office with their partner and honestly… please don’t do this.

    It might work for you – it worked for them. It did not work for us. They could tune out what their partner was saying on their own calls but none of the rest of us could – and we struggled to discuss more sensitive stuff with her right behind him. Even with the use of (top of the range) noise cancelling headphones and microphones, we could still hear her whilst talking to him.

    Find another way to both work from home.

  98. Janeric*

    My husband and I do this and have done it for over three years. It’s going OK! Some tips:
    – We can be a little chatty when we sit near one another. We make sure to take our breaks and lunches together so we can chat then — sometimes we go for a short walk during our break or grab lunch together.
    – We spend five minutes at the end of the day looking at our calendars for the next day and figuring out if we both have talk/heavy calls at the same time, if one of us needs a big block of quiet time, etc.
    – We share our calendars so we can check where the other person is without interrupting them and we
    – Both of us need a space where we can make talk-heavy calls because it seems like our jobs synchronize their crises.

    1. Janeric*

      Also: we both have headsets for calls (essential!) and we do a lot of communication during our work day via instant messenger — things like “I have an eleven o’clock that wasn’t on my calendar yesterday”, “would you like another cup of coffee?” or “we have a message from day care” go through gchat — we stick to things we’d IM a cube neighbor about if they were on a call. (and day care issues)

      Also we’re both pretty introverted: we alternate day care pickup and errands so the other person can be alone in the house, and our personal schedules have diverged so he stays up a little later than I do and I get up a little earlier than he does.

  99. lilflute86*

    On the rare occasion we’re both home one of us is in the bedroom home office and the other one of us sets up shop at the dining room table. If the baby is at daycare all day this should in theory case minimum disruption. Best of luck!

  100. BuckeyeIT*

    We only had to share for about five weeks; but found that facing the desks away from each other and a good noise cancelling headset really helped. And if we were able to be flexible with the meeting time we tried to schedule so that only one of us had a call at a time, especially if we were the host (I realize that might not be feasible for everyone)

  101. Lucia Pacciola*

    In my experience, what’s necessary is a willingness to work together to make the best of it, a willingness to compromise, and a willingness to accept when something isn’t working and work together to find a different solution or approach.

    If you have those things, any practical steps you take like partitions and whatnot will work out pretty well. If you don’t have those things, no amount of “try doing X” will help.

    Maybe for you the best solution is that one of you goes back to working at their office, most of the time.

  102. DannyG*

    When I was teaching & my hospital work was on site a divider between my roll top desk and the great room worked out. No conference calls & at the end of the day I could close the top, no university stuff visible. Now that I’m WFH and have a strict privacy requirement we converted a very large closet space (think Sam’s Club Storage) into a private office with door & lock. The down side is no windows, but I can take 5 minutes or so every couple of hours to sit on the porch & get fresh air.

  103. Thatoneoverthere*

    When COVID hit my husband and I, devoted a corner of our living room to a desk for one of us to work. Its a fairly nice desk (I got on FB Marketplace) and tried to keep it minimally decorated and clear of junk when not in use. This is what worked for us in our space. My husband is on the phone for a lot of the day. Also my husband and I would chit chat and giggle all day, if we were together and not get anything done. So we had to work separate.

    We moved in July 2022, and the basement is now is dedicated work space (its finished) and I work at the kitchen table. I am hybrid, so its only 2 days a week.

    I am not sure if this is feasible in your space, but I have seen YouTube videos of people taking a small closet and turning into a work space. They basically had a little pull down desk made (or DIY) and built some shelves above it. Their chair either went under the desk or elsewhere when not in use. Of course this is space and preference dependent (also budget dependent too). But it maybe worth researching.

  104. irritable vowel*

    My partner and I share an office, and it’s fine. We both work from home 100% of the time. On the rare occasion that we both have meetings scheduled at the same time, I just take my laptop and sit at the dining room table. He has noise-canceling headphones and I don’t, but I haven’t found it to be an issue when he’s on a work call – I can tune that stuff out because it’s boring to me :) (I find it more distracting if he happens to be taking a personal call because it’s more tempting to eavesdrop.) We each spend a couple of hours not in the office each day, between taking a walk, running errands, etc. so it’s not like we’re in there together all day every day – I think this helps a lot.

  105. Anonymouse617*

    When we shared a workspace, we had to communicate a lot. I highly recommend a morning meeting. While we got coffee each morning, we would look at our schedules for the day so we would know when the other person would be on a call or need to focus. Sometimes that meant taking lunch an hour earlier/later to give him some space, or him shifting his schedule to go to the gym at 3 and then pick work back up at 6 when I logged off. This was crucial as we were using our bedroom as our office, in addition to having roommates so we were on top of each other.

    In our current place, we have our main bedroom and our office/guest room. What we did instead of sharing an office was divide up our living room so I have a workspace, and he takes the office as he works longer hours and has books he needs to reference for teaching. It meant we had a smaller couch and less storage overall, but we put my setup in the back of the room and used a room divider, and it was SO worth it.

    Is there a space in your home where you could do this? A dining room, living room, or den area? These are traditionally areas of the house you wouldn’t be using during the work day anyway, and a bit of rearranging furniture may be able to make it a more tenable solution.

  106. b-reezy*

    My husband and I have worked from home from the same room for almost four years now. He’s on a LOT more calls than I am (most not video, I’m never on video), so if we happen to have overlapping calls, he usually moves to the kitchen especially if he really needs to talk a lot, and he takes his video one on ones with his boss from the kitchen table. Rarely, I’ll take mine out into the kitchen (the problem lies in the difference in our wireless headsets; mine is better, which means the base has to be wired into my laptop AND a power source, whereas his is a basic Bluetooth one). Otherwise, we both have headphones we wear to listen to music or shows or whatever we’re doing while not on calls. It’s never really been an issue for us. Our backs are also basically to each other during the day, so we’re pretty separated for being in the same room lol.

  107. Quinalla*

    My husband and I had to separate our WFH offices because we are both on too many calls. If your husband or you are able to take calls elsewhere (sounds like it might be easier for him?) then I would do that and you can both be in the office otherwise as much as you want.

    Or if he’s barely at his desk, I would just set it up in your bedroom. I know that is a huge problem for some, for me it isn’t an issue, so that’s what I’d do if the call situation can’t be worked out otherwise.

    You CANNOT both be on calls if you both need to talk in the same room. It is awful, several folks during COVID had to do it at our work and you hear way too much of the other person talking for your coworkers and your husbands’ and it will be hard for you both to concentrate when you are both talking. Noise canceling headphones/mics can help, but they don’t work entirely IME.

  108. ANON*

    Are there privacy concerns for either job?

    I have to have a separate workspace to avoid anyone overhearing my calls, just in case. so I work out of my bedroom since it’s one of the only rooms with a door.

  109. VC*

    My wife and I have shared a home office since the beginning of the pandemic, and still do after both of our jobs have transitioned to mostly-remote. We prefer sharing one office to trying to wedge workspaces into other rooms because it lets us shut the door on work at the end of the day.

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet that helped us was redecorating to something different that works for both peoples’ tastes. That made it feel more like a new shared space dedicated to both people’s work and less like one person’s office was being “invaded.” As a bonus, adding soft furnishings like a rug and a new armchair helped for noise management.

  110. kate*

    I think others have suggested this or similar things upthread, but the configuration that worked for my spouse and I while we were both WFH earlier in the pandemic was to set up a “tertiary workstation” in a corner of our (finished) basement, that one person could decamp to if needed. For us, that was mostly if we had Zoom meetings at the same time. We invested in a laptop dock, external mouse + keyboard + monitor, webcam, and ring light to make working there as nice as possible as opposed to feeling banished to hunch over a small screen in a corner. It worked well for us, with the unexpected bonus that my mother-in-law has used the setup to work remotely on some extended trips to visit us and tag in on evening child care, etc.

  111. Cube Diva*

    Assuming your kid will go to daycare, can one of you set up in the living room or another area of the house? My husband and I had two desks set up in the same room and I ended up moving my monitors to a rolling cart and take that with me to the couch every day. I can move it into my room at 5:00 and it’s easily packed up when I go into the office.

  112. SpaceSaver*

    It did not work for us when we worked in the same room (we tried for about 6 months) – that we survived the trial still astonishes me. However, every couple and every work situation is different! Now we live in a 2-bedroom house. My primary work office is in the 2nd bedroom upstairs and we split the room with a spot for me and a spot for his “fun” office (he likes to work on all kinds of projects/hobbies), with a workstation for him downstairs where our dining area would be if we wanted/needed one. Is there another less-conventional space you or he can use? I’ve also seen some people do some cool things with murphy beds that fold up to be a bookcase or drop-down desk for an office when not in use.

  113. Shared Office*

    My husband and I share an office and have now since 2020. We have a huge desk that is more like a table and we each sit on opposite sides, facing each other (we can’t really see each other with the monitors). I am generally not on a lot of calls but I wear my earbuds almost all the time listening to podcasts. If either of us has a call we wear a headset and on the occasion we both have a call, usually one of us sits on the couch (I am not required to be on video so that helps).
    We started this because the kids were schooling from home and if we didn’t share an office they would have only bothered me…this allowed us to share the pain. We do have other space we could use as a second office but we choose not to. It is like having a coworker at home with you….which means at 10am we can still make lunch plans just like a real office…haha

  114. GreenDoor*

    You don’t say what the rest of the house is like…but do you have any other areas of your home that wouldn’t traditionally be used as office space that could be? We don’t have an extra room for an office so I work out of our kitchen table, because we also have a dining room for eating. My husband’s area is set up in the corner of our TV/living room with a rule that the TV is off when Dad’s at work. Do you have a basement? Heated garage? Is one of your closets big enough to use as a mini work space? Would your living room have space for a desk? Good headphones and lots of communication about how your day will go (i.e. when you need a quiet house) also help.

  115. Doc McCracken*

    I’m going to go a little direction on my answer. I want you both to think about when you are extra stressed and sleep deprived. What about your husband just makes you absolutely nuts? Does he breathe loud? Constantly clear his throat? Leave 10 dirty coffee mugs around? (Ask him to do the same exercise for you). Then make sure you mitigate those obnoxious things in your set up. You’re likely to be tired and touched out in those early days and anything that annoys you about your spouse will be dialed up to 11. You may also find that you need a separate space to be 100% physically alone because being “always on” can be really draining. Congrats on the baby!

  116. New Mom*

    My husband and I both have to be on calls/meetings most of the day and we both WFH 95% of the time. I would have gone bonkers if we were in the same room. Is it possible to have a small and/or foldable /portable desk that can get moved into the babies room or your bedroom so you won’t be bothering the other person? I talk really loudly too so I sometimes turn on our kid’s sound machine if I’m going to be having a presentation or a meeting where I’ll be talking a lot.

  117. Chicken Situation*

    If he mostly just uses the office for calls rather than office work, can you set up a space somewhere else (say, in the corner of the living room) for him to take calls? That would decrease the amount of time you are in the office together.

  118. JoAnna*

    Depending on your location, budget, HOA, Wi-Fi capabilities, etc, one solution can be to create another WFH space in the backyard. You could enclose a porch or look at a tiny house solution. Not always a feasible, but an option.

  119. Red Zinger*

    My husband and I have both worked from home since 2020. We started out in the same room but that was really not practical. It’s very difficult with meetings when there is someone else in the same room on a call also. No amount of dividers or partitions made this any better. We’ve gotten creative with our desks. For a couple of years, my desk was jammed in the kitchen. My husband worked at the dining room table. I’ve also tried having my desk in our bedroom. Neither the kitchen or the bedroom are ideal for me, but they are both far, far better than working in the same room.

  120. McS*

    It’s all about clearly communicating and agreeing on norms/expectations. The difference you’ve sensing between this and an open office and his assertion that it’s no big deal are related to the core preparation step. Have a conversation where you agree that during the workday, you are coworkers and can expect the same professionalism you expect in an office. Don’t interrupt randomly with questions about dinner – expect the other person is busy and ask politely for necessary interruptions, keep the space clean and your items to your own desk, avoid loud music and move to another space for calls where you’ll be talking a lot. It can be done with the same rules as an open office, but starting from being married, those rules will not be natural – you have to explicitly agree on them.

  121. Yellow*

    My husband and I share a VERY small office. I WFH 2-3 days a week and he is here full time. I have a laptop, whereas he does not. So when he’s on calls, I can either just deal with it or move to another room. I take all of my calls from my bed. It’s lovely.
    The main thing that helps us is we sit back to back. In our old set up we were side by side and seeing what he was working on (or not working on) during the day really chapped my hide. So this works much better. Also, if we want to talk to each other while we’re both in the office, he’s gotta knock on my desk. He can’t just start talking to me.

  122. Temperance*

    I share with my husband and it’s mostly fine. We both wear headphones, and if we have conflicting meetings, I go into our bedroom or another room. (My setup has a laptop and is way more flexible).

  123. Wry*

    Assuming the baby will be in daycare or similar while you’re working: Keep the smaller office as a dedicated office, and turn the larger office into a nursery with a dedicated office corner. If the baby won’t be there during work hours, there’s no reason the nursery can’t do double duty as an office.

    Or if for some reason the setup of the rooms won’t allow for that, is there an area in your living room, dining room, or kitchen that could hold a small desk setup?

    I think either of these options would be better than you and your husband sharing an office.

    1. Beth P.*

      Both my husband and I work from home with one office, but both prefer the large couch in the living room for non call work. We have shared our work calendars and “book” the office like a conference room. That way we can ensure there are no overlapping meetings in the office space. I imagine you both could still work out of the office but ensure you “book” meeting times with each other, so that there are no overlapping calls.

  124. lilyp*

    You should try dry running some stuff early (maybe before you get too invested in this being The Plan) and see what actually works and what needs adjusting. Like could you put a card table in your office so he can work from there for a day before you move his whole desk setup? Or maybe you both zoom a friend at the same time with your current headsets on and see how bad/distracting the noise actually is, or try having one of you take a call while the other person is trying to do focused work in the same room. That should give you a better sense of what works FOR YOU and what pieces you need to change.

  125. Karo*

    This is going to be relatively minor with all the other considerations, but you mentioned setting up the office so you weren’t visible in each others’ backgrounds – also consider how the person further from the door would exit the room if the other person is on a call. When my husband and I shared an office for a bit, there were a few times when he was on a call and I really needed to use the bathroom but felt trapped because I couldn’t get past him without walking through his background.

    1. allathian*

      Honestly I fail to see why simply walking past someone would be a problem, assuming your husband’s coworkers know he’s married, you’re fully clothed, and you don’t look at either him or the camera as you walk past him.

  126. Pajamas on Bananas*

    Baby should be in your room for the first year, and honestly with separation anxiety it’s better to wait at least 18 mos. Baby doesn’t need their own room, so this really isn’t something you need to worry about.

    1. allathian*

      Depends a lot on the kid, and on the parents. The best solution will vary, but it invoves maximizing the amount of sleep each member of the family gets. I couldn’t tolerate sleeping in the same room with our son who was a restless sleeper because I’d wake up at every sound he made. He shared a room with my husband until he was 8 and decided that he wanted his own room. For much of that time, he was happy enough to go to sleep on his own. When our son was yonger, my husband would go to bed at the same time as our son did, wait until he was properly asleep and get up again.

      Now that he’s a teen and all of us sleep in different rooms, we go to bed at the same time and my husband and I get up about an hour before our son does.

  127. trvh*

    Consider putting one office in your bedroom, and switching on a regular basis. And you can look at maybe not needing to do it right away.

    I just saw an episode on this on Daniel Titchener’s youtube channel, maybe take a peek for inspiration? Good luck!

  128. BeenThere OG*

    Do you actually need a nursery for the first year? Our baby slept in our room and is still there past the one year mark, starting in a basinet then moving to a crib. The AAP currently recommend room sharing to reduce the risk of SIDS for the first 6 months. The change table lived in our living room because it was the non-carpeted location in our apartment. Three bedroom apartment, we each how our own office for now and enough shared living spaces for the toddler to play in.

    Just a third option that will buy you a year or so.

  129. Industry Behemoth*

    OP, if sharing a home office 100% doesn’t work out, do either or both of you have an employer office you can go to when needed?

  130. Hamburke*

    I love working in the same office as my husband! we work for different companies, with very different jobs. Neither of us do a lot of phone calls so that makes it easy on that front. we sit side by side to stay out of cameras, refill each other’s beverages, take a break for lunch and talk about what we need to defrost for dinner. occasionally, we bounce things off of each other. our kids are old enough (teens) that even if they are home, that they fend for themselves and we only occasionally need to do stuff for them (like take them to the dentist or doctor bc they cant consent themselves). this most definitely won’t work for everybody – him getting up constantly would bother me but on days I don’t work (I’m part-time), he doesn’t notice me coming and going so much – so you may have to work out the details as you go (remember to communicate!

  131. Flossie Bobbsey*

    My spouse and I shared a home office for the first year of the pandemic before we moved. We had desks facing opposite walls of the room. We took video calls using headsets; I’d angle my camera so you couldn’t see him sitting behind me, although with internal calls no one cared if they caught a glimpse of him leaving the room. Same was true of most external calls, too, since it was widely understood in 2020 that people were making do with whatever home office setup they could manage – the same may not be true now. In our configuration, I could exit the room without being seen on his calls (since his camera faced the window to the right of my desk and I was off camera in the same direction as the door behind me/to his right).

    I saw another commenter suggested having the second room as a dual nursery/office, and this is a great idea, especially if you can set up a basinet or pack-n-play somewhere else (like the unused master bedroom) for naptime.

    Relatedly, I assume you’ve ruled this out or you wouldn’t be asking the question, but the baby doesn’t really need or use a dedicated bedroom at all immediately at birth. My children slept in our room until they were past 1 year old, which is recommended for safe sleep.

  132. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    Whatever you choose, I suggest taking it for a test drive. Get some friends to call both of you at the same time, pretend you’re in typical work meetings, and then ask them to be brutally honest about how much they can hear the other person. There’s a good chance that no one in your office will actually come out and tell you later if this bothers them – they’ll just be secretly annoyed – so better to be sure up front.

  133. The yellow dog of workplace happiness*

    I’d be sharing your bedroom with the baby for as long as possible and keeping the two separate offices.

    Another idea I haven’t seen mentioned is putting the baby’s room in the larger office with a divider in there. Then you have separate offices, your own sleep space isn’t also a workspace, and you’ll be close to the baby.

  134. Rosie*

    My husband and I share a home office (it was originally intended to be just for me, I’ve always been remote, but now he’s also home 90% of the time too). We arranged our desks so we’re on opposite walls, and if he has some particularly chatty meetings or design stuff planned, then he sometimes goes to another room to take them. I think our set-up is a bit different in that I rarely have meetings/calls, but being out of each other’s eyeline really helps. We can still chat whenever but it’s also easy to ignore/tune out whatever he’s up to and focus. I’d say we basically treat it like a regular open-plan work space, but with the added bonus of the other occupant being really great! Huge congratulations on your shiny new human.

  135. Jules the 3rd*

    Congrats on the baby!

    A room divider will make it work as long as you’re both thoughtful about the noise level, but also consider whether a time divider is possible – one of you starting work an hour or two before the other. The person not working gets baby time, the person working gets concentration time.

    My husband and I did this for work and for sleep (he had baby duty 8pm to 2am, then I did until 8am). It wasn’t rigid, but setting the general expectation helped us all get enough sleep, enough work done, and the kid solidly bonded with both parents.

  136. AJ*

    I worked from our garage for a year, set up in a corner with a dividing screen. it worked surprisingly well especially since my toddler was home with a nanny – I still “went to work” every day and he had no idea I was at home.

  137. Christi*

    My husband and I shared our (formerly his) home office for several months early in the pandemic. Ultimately, it was just too much “togetherness” for me, especially given that our twins and their nanny were downstairs, limiting our ability to work elsewhere within the house. We ended up moving things around so he has the smaller bedroom that used to be our room, and the larger bedroom that used to be his office is now our bedroom/my office. And this past year the kids started daycare and now kindergarten, which helps a lot! It’s by no means perfect, but having our own space for work has absolutely been a lifesaver for my marriage.

  138. GrumpCurmudgeon*

    Know your quirks and what you can/can’t stand.

    My husband works from home and I do a lot of work from home but also teach a couple of classes in person at the local university as an adjunct. He’s the “primary earner” (he’s a business solutions developer/writes and customizes software in the financial industry). We’re both disabled. In a two-bedroom apartment setup, I have the office space and he has part of the living room as his office space. He likes being closer to the kitchen and making smelly food; he likes when I come in to his space; he tends to be a little more claustrophobic around lots of furniture while the extra bedroom is basically a library with a desk–surrounded on four sides by bookshelves. I, on the other hand, cannot stand to ever have someone walk behind me (weird quirk that made cubicle life difficult back when I was a DBA) and garlic food smells can nauseate me. So I take the office even though I would’ve said he needed/deserved it more. (This was his decision and he was firm on it–and he’s absolutely right).

    So you have to know yourself and your quirks… and him and his quirks… and what setup is going to work for that. I’d say it’s highly individualized.

    1. Tumbleweed*

      We share an office – my partner is 98% wfh and I work from home 2-3 days a week. it works very well for us and we enjoy hanging out together during the work day.

      One of us will occasionally relocate to dining table with competing meetings but usually it’s fine (mostly do this if both meetings are extremely talking heavy). Both of us get surprise calls and have planned meetings most days, just sort of go with the flow on it. we both listen to music on headphones a lot which will block out the other person’s call if needing to focus while they are talking.

      It’s way less annoying than being sat next to a colleague in the office who’s on the same call and less background noise than if either of us were in an open plan office (both on calls and for working).

      Biggest challenge is the office room has a double bed in and isn’t very big so I have to kind of squeeze past her to get out the room – which is tricky if she has a call (she just turns camera off for a second, so it’s not that tricky but still). Set up that way round as she has less meetings and only internal meetings. If we were renting (or rented somewhere that didn’t come with furniture) we’d have definitely set this room up a bit different but it is what it is for now.

      (as it keeps getting mentioned: if either company is worried about privacy/confidentiality to the point where they want us to have separate home office then they need to pay us more to afford the space to do it in and dedicate to them, they’ve both reduced their office space since the pandemic… As it is they both seem to trust your partner isn’t going to know tonnes more than normal anyway from not really listening to one side of a conversation and trust you/them to keep quiet about if they do overhear something – I’ve deliberately moved in order to do a review/appraisal of someone else though)

      I’ve written quite a lot here but honestly we just don’t overthink this and haven’t at any point! You can’t predict and have a plan for every eventuality that comes up so we’re both adaptable and amenable about it if there’s an issue caused by being in the same room. I knew we were in the minority for finding this fine/enjoying it but slightly surprised how much in the minority.

  139. samantha*

    My husband and I do this now – he works from his comfy chair (living room) and I’m by the dining room table (open area, basically). He usually watches videos on his phone until he gets a ticket (he works a help desk), and I usually have earbuds in as I work with numbers and need to focus. I have about three to four meetings a week, and I use the headphones for that too.

    The only thing that REALLY bugs me is when he laughs at a video – I have to know what he’s laughing about. That’s on me… But I do enjoy working from home. We both have mobility issues, so it works out for us.

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