Turns Out My Fiancé Has a Working-From-Home ‘Business Voice.’ Here’s How I Cope

It’s been two weeks to the day that my fiancé and I started working from home together. We’re both lucky enough to be employed by companies and be in roles that allow us this privilege and are so grateful to not have to leave our apartment for practically anything but food. We’re also in the middle of planning our upcoming October wedding (fingers crossed that it’s not affected), and we’ve actually found joy in adding a mint green KitchenAid mixer and white Le Creuset Dutch oven to our registry.

That’s all well and good, blah blah, love him lots, but honestly, his insanely loud “I’m a Man on a Business Call” voice is driving me crazy.

It started out slowly. See, Matt’s office is split between a financial team and a tech team, and as managing director, he bridges the two. At the beginning of our quarantine, half of his coworkers were still going into the office and most of their conversations with him were still over Slack and email. That all changed on Monday, March 16, when everyone he works with took up new office space on their couches and kitchen tables and simultaneously agreed that they should be on constant, incessant conference calls and Google Hangouts.

To make this all even easier on him, his office sent him home with his laptop and later shipped him a second monitor, keyboard, mouse and collapsible standing desk; all of which have completely taken over our very small dining table. I use the term “dining table” here loosely as it’s a two-foot by four-foot piece of Ikea wood jammed under the one window in our living room—meaning my workspace is on the couch, a mere eight feet away when I sit on the extreme left of it.

If you haven’t been able to piece it together by now, reader, our apartment is small. We’re talking 500-square-feet, total. Just a few steps from my "corner office" on the couch is our bedroom door (which has now been turned into his home gym with a myriad of 50 Shades of Grey-looking straps and cables attached to it, but that’s a woe for a different day). This door—and the rest of the walls and doors in our Upper East Side apartment building—are old, thin and the exact opposite of soundproof. I go in there and close the flimsy piece of particleboard behind me for my own work video calls and I swear I’ve seen my fellow editors wince when they hear “SOUNDS GOOD, LET’S CIRCLE BACK AFTER LUNCH,” coming from the living room. Same goes for when he yells "IN THE SPACE," or "GET THE BALL ROLLING." However, my personal favorite is "LET’S TOUCH BASE OFFLINE." Everything is online, hun!

My one saving grace in this situation? The Power Beats 3 headphones he, ironically, got me for Christmas. They’re not technically noise-cancelling, but in a small space with hardly any other sounds, they’re able to drown him out beautifully without forcing me to jack up the volume to ear-bleed. They’re wireless, so it doesn’t matter if my phone is charging on the other side of the room, and can follow me everywhere I go, keeping his business voice at bay. I use them when I’m running away from his calls and could not imagine getting through this work setup without them. I just have to remember to keep them charged because when their white battery light turns to red, so does my vision.

Thoughts and prayers for our continued work from home harmony because regardless of how frustrating this living and working situation is, it's only going to make our bond and future marriage that much stronger. If we don't kill each other first.

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