Working from home with housemates with Dr Frank Chow

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  • Working from home with housemates is hard enough, let alone working in an environment where you may not have the space, adequate resources or the ability to be both flexible and disciplined in your work at home practices. With Covid giving more workers the option to work from home, unless you have clear boundaries set up and a good understanding of what that means for the other people in the household, it could create more problems. It's also important to take care of your mental and physical health, get enough exercise, separate work from home life and make time for leisure activities. In this interview Dr. Frank Chow goes into great depth about how the working world has changed, how you can negotiate working from home with your housemates and the importance of having an allocated work space.

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    About Dr Frank Chow

    Dr Frank Chow is the director and psychiatrist at 2OP Health, a specialist in organisational and occupational psychiatric service, specialising in work related mental health care. Dr Chow is passionate about advocating early intervention, education and rehabilitation for all individuals so they can get back on track with improved clarity, motivation and fulfilment at work.

    Content of our interview

    0:30: We’ve just hit our 10th episode. Thank you to my producer David D. If you’re looking for a producer for your podcast, get in touch with him.

    2:00 – Introducing our guest today – Dr Frank Chow. We’ll be discussing how to work from home, how to negotiate working from home, how to make space in your home for work and taking care of your mental and physical health while working from home.

    4:00 – How has the working world changed? Adjusting expectations, more flexible work arrangements, balance between home and office.

    There’s a difference between how extroverts and introverts cope with working from home. Introverts are finding it easier to adjust.

    8:40 – Some of the effects of long-term working from home are social skill deterioration and increased social anxiety.

    10:27 – If you’re moving into a new house share and you work from home, how do you negotiate with your housemates about potential issues that might arise?

    12:00 – The Room Xchange has a household and housemate questionnaire that you can use as a guide to asking the right questions when getting a new housemate. We also have a House Share Agreement to help you negotiate the terms of your house share.

    Shared space takes turns.

    14:25 – Create a house share agreement on what your terms are and what you agree to in regard to sharing spaces and working from home.

    15:25 – Utilising local cafes and venues to work from that are quiet in the afternoons. Work outside in a local park. Book a co-working space a day a week for meetings and Zoom calls.

    16:55 – Set up your own hot desk/working space at home that you can all book a time to work at. It’s better for your physical health to have a good working space and not just working with your laptop on your lap.

    18:50 – Use a whiteboard in the kitchen to show allocated times when there might be meetings online or if you need quiet in the house when you’re working.

    19:30 – Are people who work from home given an allowance from their employers to cover the initial set up, internet costs, desk etc?

    21:10 – How to recognise if working from home is not good for you and you need to put some disciplines in place to ensure you don’t burn out.

    24:00 – Put leisure activities in your calendar to ensure you’re getting out and having breaks and exercising.

    25:00 – Build rapport and build on you relationship by having a face to face conversation.

    27:00 – House sharing can build lifelong friendships.

    28:10 – In next week’s episode we have Dr Diaswati Asti Mardiasmo who’ll be talking about her experiences of house sharing as a single mother and the value it’s brought to her life.


    Dr Frank Chow - Psychiatrist at 2OP Health

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