Quarantine. Social distancing. Corona. COVID-19. Virtual hangout. Shelter-in-place. These words have snuck into our daily vocabulary almost as quickly as the COVID-19 panic swept an entire nation. One day we were enjoying a meal with friends at a local restaurant, now going to the grocery store seems like a risky adventure. How can we come out of the other side of this moment in history with our sanity intact and perhaps even a few fond memories?
Some of us are now living out our everyday lives with roommates we only met a few months ago, while others are spending this time with family members or partners. No matter how you are choosing to quarantine during this time, our goal is to help you create a healthy community and harmony between you and your roommates. We chatted with three of our members at Common homes on their advice covering everything from social distancing etiquette to living with a partner to fun activities to try while living in quarantine with roommates.
Quarantine etiquette and creating a “cope ahead” plan
Madeline Callahan, Interior Designer at Verge of Human Design living at Common SimondsThis is a scary time for everyone but some people may be handling it better than others. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries and tell people if you’re uncomfortable, but be respectful about it. There’s a difference between saying, “You’re supposed to clean that!” and “Hey, I noticed you didn’t wipe down the kitchen after cooking. It makes me feel uncomfortable knowing there could still be germs there and I want to make sure we are all being safe together, for everyone’s sake.” Using, “I feel…” statements will go so much further than placing blame on someone.
In this particular climate, it may be most beneficial to create a “cope ahead” plan with everyone you share space with. This allows you to anticipate the worst and come up with a collective plan not only to help prevent any issues but also to have a game-plan should anything go wrong. This could look like creating a physical checklist of things everyone agrees to before and after meals, using the bathroom, or leaving a space.
Balancing working from home with a partner or roommates
Emily Horner, Apparel Designer living at Common DamenThis ‘new normal’ can be a little challenging to navigate. I live in a home with two roommates and my boyfriend. Where most of us would leave the house every day to report to work, we are now tasked with shelling out our own space in our apartment to work from home. Most of us are out in the common area of the living room every day working together and with all three of us engaged in meetings, interviews, etc. It can be tricky to respect each other’s space and need for quiet. Communication is a huge part of our daily process so we can plan accordingly if one of us has an important meeting or will be on a video call.
Another important part is to make time for oneself. At the end of a long day, working and living alongside my roommates, I often feel the need to spend some time alone, in my room. I’m sure many people with roommates sometimes feel this way. I will simply tell my roommates, I need my ‘quiet time’ and send myself to my room as a small mental health moment to decompress.
Create space in your home for specific activities
Katelyn Schmitberger, Senior Account Executive living at Common Richardson
Creating space with our extra bedroom as a “conference room” for meetings throughout the work day has been a game-changer. Also, focusing on keeping the house clean given that all five of us are at home all day, every day makes it extremely important given our close quarters. In our free time, we’ve loved doing puzzles, watching new show series, baking, throwing backyard brunches, playing chess, and creating house delivery dinners.
Looking for other ways to navigate quarantine with roommates?
We’ve created the ultimate roommate social distancing guide to help you distance yourself in a fun and safe way. Stay up to date on our Instagram for even more updates and roommate tips.