Considering living with a coworker? Go into it with your eyes wide open.
Think you have a good idea of what your coworkers are all about after spending 40 hours a week with them? Most people are different at work than they are at home. Even friends outside of the office can find it's not the same as living under one roof 24/7.
However, affordable housing is hard to come by, and sharing a house or apartment with a fellow employee can help, especially if you have similar schedules and budgets. But you must stick to some basic rules.
Lay out the expectations
Even the most accountable, driven workers may let loose in their personal lives. That's why it’s important to be open about roommate expectations, as well as considerate of shared spaces. Some important things to talk about: Cleaning up after yourself, sharing household duties, overnight guests, parties and more. Both roomates should feel comfortable and relaxed, so make sure everyone is on the same page.
Realize this, though: The perfect roommate arrangement simply doesn’t exist. Conflicts will arise, and preparing a roommate agreement in advance is the best way to keep small issues from blowing up.
It should include things such as overnight guests, quiet hours, specific cleaning and maintenance responsibilities and when to lock the door. Don’t forget to address how to split bills and when to pay them.
One great advantage of a “workmate?” Sharing transportation to work. Carpooling can save you money and could benefit the environment. If you and your roommate work similar schedules and don’t mind carpooling, create a plan a simple schedule indicating who will drive on what days. If only one of you owns a car, work out reasonable compensation for gas and vehicle maintenance.
Understand you don't have to be best friends
Though roommates can be friends, a roommate relationship isn’t always same as a friendship. If you and your roommate live together with little conflict, sometimes that’s all that matters. In many cases, it’s better not to be best friends with your coworker/roommate. You spend a lot of time with him or her at work, and everyone needs space.
Keep work and home separate
One big danger of living with a coworker is blurred boundaries. If you and your roommate get in a spat about dirty dishes or guests overstaying their welcome, don’t discuss it with other coworkers. And try to keep work issues out of the home, too.
Don’t gossip about other coworkers with your roommate. While there may be coworkers you both dislike or work issues that affect the two of you, keep these types of discussions to a minimum. You both need to fight your own battles at work in a professional manner. Moreover, it’s unhealthy to vent constantly about work.
Finally, if a roommate moves out, it’s important to try to end your partnership on peaceful terms. Of course, many coworker/roommate relationships do succeed. The trick? Clear expectations, open communication and respect.