Stuck at Home: 3 Ways to Negotiate Space between Family Members


2020 is a big year for families. It’s when all the bonding time lost due to busy work and school schedules is regained and each one rediscovers shared interests. As the pseudo-holiday ambiance wanes and the new normal settles in, however, it becomes more apparent that you’ll be spending a lot of time at home together.

Questions pop up during dinner as to where in the house each parent will work. Who will look after the puppy while the children are studying online? Things can easily turn sour if nobody plans the family’s set up in the new normal.

To maintain peace, it’s essential to remember these three things when negotiating each member’s workspace.

Schedule a Family Meeting

Quick conversations over dinner might not suffice to cover all the concerns everybody has about dividing the space at home. This is especially true if you have limited room to share.

Sit everybody down in the dining room to discuss your agenda. This is the time each one must reflect on working conditions that best suit them. Maybe your son doesn’t mind a little noise, but your spouse gets easily distracted. Getting to know the preferences of one another enables you to avoid conflict. It also simplifies the process of deciding who will occupy the living room at what time and whether somebody needs to set up a makeshift office in the garage.

If you have the outdoor space, consider small infrastructures like backyard cabins. It’s easy to say at first that the bedroom is a suitable environment until you realize you’re unproductive. Dedicated spaces like backyard cabins will help everyone establish a routine for school and work, and it will keep the sanctity of the house as a place of rest.

Be Open to Letting Go of Things

getting fresh laundry

Sometimes, it’s not finding space that’s difficult. It’s making space that’s truly a challenge. The new normal calls for you to let go of clutter to make room for more important things. Make it a family effort to go around the house removing things that you no longer use.

Take a cue from tidiness gurus like Marie Kondo and Gretchen Rubin. You might find that you not only free up essential space, but you also lessen the need for frequent cleaning. Clutter triggers stress, and you can do with less of both during a global pandemic.

Anticipate Adjustments

Adjustments are inevitable when you finally put your plans into action. The idea you fostered in your head might not come off as nicely once executed. Perhaps it’s the unexpected elements in your chosen workspace or the inconvenience of purchasing office furniture that doesn’t fit.

Changes can be frustrating, so it helps when you anticipate it. These adjustments might not happen immediately, but there will certainly be some along the way as your family settles into your new routine. The most important thing is communicating, cooperating, and appreciating one another in these trying times.

Make It Fun

The new normal doesn’t have to be boring. Even small spaces maximized between a family of four can be an exciting endeavor. It all depends on your creativity and, perhaps, your budget for online shopping.

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