The cost of living continues to increase – but wages haven’t quite caught up. That means that most young professionals are looking for ways to reduce costs wherever they can. One way to do this? Getting a roommate. And in many cases, that roommate ends up being a coworker.
Living with coworkers can help financially, when you consider the reduced cost of rent, utilities and other living expenses. It also makes sense when you think about similar schedules, and the fact that you can carpool or travel together to work and meetings. However, the decision to live with a coworker isn’t always easy – working and living with someone can raise a whole host of potential issues. Below, we’ve put together a list of 4 tips to make it work:
1. Be honest
When living with a coworker, the most important thing is to remain honest and transparent. It’s much better to deal with issues head-on, rather than to let them chafe until one of you blows up, which can create tension at work and home. So, if your roommate never puts his dishes in the dishwasher or always fails to refill the toilet paper, speak up as soon as you can. Be nice about it, but be firm. If you keep your tone light and conversational, your requests should be well-received.
2. Be respectful of privacy and space
Whether it’s alone time to decompress or social time with a separate group of friends, everyone needs their space. Even if you have some of the same friends as your roommate, it’s okay – and even normal – to have separate friends as well. Don’t feel offended if your roommate goes out without you one night, and don’t worry about offending her if you do the same. Respect for one another as individuals improves your chances of having a healthy, happy living situation.
3. Communicate your expectations
Whether you know your coworker well or not at all before you decide to move in together, it’s important to clearly communicate each of your expectations for your living arrangements. From bill payment to chore lists to expectations for parties and overnight guests, lay it all out on the table – before you move in together. That way, both parties are on the same page and there won’t be any surprises or inadvertent offenses down the road.
4. Leave work at work
It’s natural to want to talk (or occasionally vent) about work when the day is done. But if that’s all you and your roommate discuss, it can quickly become overwhelming. Feel free to discuss your workday for a few minutes at dinner or before you part ways for the night, but don’t let it become your only topic of discussion. And make sure to avoid gossiping about coworkers or sharing sensitive project information.
The most important factor to a successful coworker-roommate relationship? A coworker you like and get along with. Choose someone who you enjoy working with, and who has values that align with yours. Remember that relationships of every kind take work, so be prepared to work to get along.
Have you ever lived with a coworker? What was your experience?
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All images from Fast Company