More than half of home workers with live-in partner say relationship has suffered

This is a side by side images of two same sex couple working from home.

Many Brits are still remotely working post-COVID, but new data shows that constant working from home can take a toll on live-in romantic couples.

A lasting effect (and perhaps benefit) of the pandemic is that many are still working from home in some capacity. The most recent data from the Office for National Statistics found that 44 per cent of workers in the UK are working from home. While more people are taking a hybrid approach to work, 16 per cent are working from home full-time.

While it’s been suggested that full-time remote working could lead to reduced productivity, a new survey from co-working provider HomeWork Workspace suggests that it could also be placing strain on romantic relationships with live-in partners.

Nearly 30 per cent of respondents say they have always – and still do – enjoyed working from home with their partner. Over 10 per cent say that their relationship with their partner has actually improved thanks to home working.

Yet, for 54 per cent of those surveyed, working from home has caused their romantic relationship to suffer. Nearly a quarter said that constantly being in the house has led to them having fewer conversations or having less to talk about. Thirteen per cent say that they argue a lot more than they used to when at least one person left the house to go to work, and 8 per cent said the novelty of near-permanent togetherness wore off quickly.

For 6 per cent of those surveyed, working from home had a significant role in a breakup with a live-in partner.

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Almost all of those who felt a strain said they began noticing relationship issues within the first 12 months of working from home. For 68 per cent, cracks started to show in under six months. Alarmingly, 27 per cent said things got rocky right off the bat, within the first month of working at home with their partner.

Commenting on the study, Claire Tucker, founder of HomeWork Workspace, said: “Our survey suggests that absence really does make the heart grow fonder, with working from home being responsible for turning the seven-year itch into the seven-week itch.”

“Our research reveals the complexities of balancing work and personal life under the same roof. While some have thrived, a significant number have felt the strain. It’s a reminder that occasional physical separation can sometimes bring emotional closeness.”

The survey did highlight the benefits of working away from home – even if sporadically. Thirty-six per cent said that working apart, even for just a day or two a week, has been beneficial for their relationship.

While there are plenty of horror stories of relationships vreaking down, there are couples that thrive when both are spending their time at work “together.”

Making sure to ‘switch off’

For Michael Knysok, the founder of the digital marketing agency Dealers League SL, not only do he and his husband both work from home, but they also work together. His husband Rafael is the “organisational brain of the company”, handling all of the financials and administration work, giving Knysok the time to focus on creativity and “trying to bring new ideas to life.”

This is an image of two men on the Brooklyn Bridge. The man on the left is wearing a read baseball cap and a white tshirt. He also has glasses and a short beard. The man on the right has on a sun hat and is also wearing glasses.
Michael Knysok (R) and his husband Rafael spend their days at home running their own company. (Supplied)

Knysok does note however that any pain points in working with his husband had less to do with their personal relationship and more so with their working relationship.

He tells PinkNews: “It was hard in the beginning as I was very young on my journey as an entrepreneur and had to learn to delegate and let him do what he knows best.”

“It was never an issue with working together as I know him so well.”

You might think that living together and running a business would lead to talking shop outside of business hours, but Knysok says that setting boundaries for work chat during office hours only is key.

“I learned the hard way that I needed to have a very regulated lifestyle which means that I have a strict 9 to 5 policy and no work is being done outside of those hours.”

“Therefore it is rather easy to just switch off.”