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Dear Maggie Series: Relationship Advice

dear maggie

The benefits of remote working are tremendous; from flexible schedules and commuter free work days to working in your pajamas! At Intridea, we are huge proponents of this lifestyle and have written loads of articles on working effectively, and communicating efficiently in it. However, there's one topic that's gone unnoticed, the relational side of remote working. As a five year veteran, Maggie has experienced many of the relational pitfalls remote working can come with and has heard the same from many of her peers. Thus, she and Intridea have decided to do something about it…

Introducing – “Dear Maggie” – a resource for remote workers who may be facing the friction that can often surface when your home becomes your full time office.

Send your burning questions over to dearmaggie@intridea.com, and we’ll address them!


Dear Maggie,

I recently started working for a company that’s fully distributed (remote). The adjustment has been great and I’m really enjoying my new work situation, there’s only one problem.

My wife works a traditional 9-5 job and is consistently annoyed when she returns home to find I haven’t done any housework. I don’t think this is fair, as she isn’t expected to clean during her work-day, and I’m busy doing my own job during the day.

How can I help her to understand I need to put in 8 hours of work too and can’t do all the cleaning while she’s away?

Annoyed in Annapolis


Hey Annoyed,

One of the hardest parts to adjusting to remote working is negotiating a new normal with your partner. Many times people new to remote working are careful to define expectations for themselves, and for their new employer, but not their significant other. I think we’re both in agreement that your wife’s expectations are unfair; both of you work during the day, yours just happens to be from home while hers is at an office.

However, keep in mind, it may be that your wife is questioning your time at home, because she doesn’t see you clean enough when she is around. Perhaps this is an opportunity to address the split of household duties, and put together an amenable plan.

Here are a few tips to ensure success:

  1. Indicate you’re interested in finding a plan that ensures no one (especially her) feels like they’re doing more than their ½ of the work. This way you’re approaching the conversation from a place of positivity rather than complaining.
  2. Own the goal of coming up with a plan and come prepared! Start a chart to help track duties, or a list of the tasks you’ve identified to keep the conversation productive. After you get it nailed down, post it somewhere where it’s easily accessible by both of you.
  3. Setting your partner’s expectations about what she’ll see you do is only half the battle, be sure to discuss the details of when you prefer to accomplish your ½ of the duties too. This way she doesn’t expect the laundry to be done on Tuesdays when you’d prefer to do it on Sunday mornings. Talking it through beforehand ensures no one is let down.
  4. Stick to it. Whatever you two agree on, you have to hold up your end of the bargain. Setting expectations only helps if you meet those expectations.

Every relationship is different, and I wouldn’t say there’s one “silver bullet” for this problem. Nevertheless setting expectations is always a great start. Working remote adds new variables to a relationship – but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming! Being intentional in both your work and family life can be as simple as a list, conversation, or schedule – just take the time and address these issues head on…

Enjoy this post? Check out the rest of our DISTRIBUTED articles here!

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