Seven tips for working from home when you live with roommates

Coliving with roommates can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging, especially when you add working from home to the mix. With clear communication and a few simple WFH tricks, you can boost your productivity while maintaining great roommate relationships. Here’s how to deal when your home doubles as a coworking space.

multi-tasking person with computer, tablet, pens and pencils on pink striped background

Table of contents

1. Share your schedules. 2. Create a barrier between work and home. 3. Divide space equitably. 4. Set quiet hours.5. Try noise reduction. 6. Set a time to hang out. 7. Wear a work outfit.

1. Share your schedules.

Clear communication about when you need dead silence for an important call and when you’ll be available for a shared lunch is the best way to keep relations smooth between you and your roommates. Keep a calendar in the common area where you can write down important meetings, or create a shared digital calendar so your roommates know when not to disturb you. Make sure you and your roommates are clear on when everyone’s work day begins and ends. If your schedule is variable, you’ll have to be even more communicative about your needs.

girl stretching on green yoga mat with dog

2. Create a barrier between work and home.

When you work from home, you can find work stressors bleeding over into your home life. For a calmer living environment, try to create a boundary between work life and home life by setting a strict schedule for yourself: Try turning off all your devices after a certain hour, or disabling notifications from your work email during rest hours. Doing something to relax after work, like a workout or a candle-lit shower, can help jog your brain out of work mode and into relaxation mode. You can invite your roommates to join you on a post-work walk or yoga, or take that time for yourself to decompress.

roommates working separately in kitchen

3. Divide space equitably.

Navigating who gets to hang out in common space can be tricky, and with multiple people working from home, this gets even more complicated. Call a house meeting to check in with your roommates about their work from home needs. If multiple people want to work in common space, you may need to set a schedule for who gets which space when. Make sure everyone’s fully on board, since common space is meant to be shared equally.

male roommate working from couch while female roommate does yoga

4. Set quiet hours.

Even if you’re not going to the office, there may be times when you or your roommates have early-morning meetings or late-night calls, in which case it may be necessary to negotiate exceptions to the weeknight quiet hours established in your roommate agreement. If you let your roommates know about your needs ahead of time (and respect their requests for quiet as well), you can avoid potential noise issues.

5. Try noise reduction.

One of the biggest potential conflicts in working from home together occurs when one roommate needs to talk on the phone for their job, while the other needs silence. Agreeing to occupy separate parts of the home can help, but if you’ve closed all the doors and are still having sound issues, there are a few tools that can help: noise-cancelling headphones, earplugs, a white noise machine, a fan, and area rugs.

roommates watching TV together

6. Set a time to hang out.

It can be hard for your roommates to understand when you’re “at work” when you’re, well, at home. Setting a designated hang-out time, like a 15-minute mid-morning tea or a 30-minute shared lunch, will decrease the possibility of bothering each other during working hours, and keep you and your roommates productive during the day.

7. Wear a work outfit.

One of the easiest work from home productivity tricks is to get dressed in the morning in a work-appropriate outfit. When you work from home with roommates, getting out of your PJs won’t just help you focus on your work: It’s also a visual signal to your roommates that you are at work. At the end of the work day, change into your comfy outfit to signal that you’re available to chat.

Working from home with roommates doesn’t have to be complicated. Establishing boundaries up front will allow you to work productively at home, while enjoying the occasional cup of coffee with your roommates.

A successful working-from-home set up in a shared home calls for great roommates. Bungalow offers private rooms in shared homes—and the best roommates to share them with. Unlike other shared housing options, Bungalow vets all residents and helps you match with roommates who share your living preferences and interests. Find your next home on Bungalow.

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