It’s Time To Work Together, Here’s How To Self Isolate When You Live With Others

By Rick Stephens
24th Mar 2020

Many of us have already been stationed at home for the next while, and nearly everyone has got the memos on what we should and shouldn’t be doing when self-isolating. Along with employing a hint of common sense, the recommendations are fairly practical and should come as second nature if they don’t already. 

But what does it mean for the people who have flatmates? One may be in self-isolation already, the other is still working from their office, but you’ve ducked out to the supermarket; the situation creates some variables, to say the least. Common sense and following authorities recommendations still prevail, but you may need to take a few extra steps to minimise risk and keep a happy, harmonious relationship between your roomies.


It can be a tough one to swallow. We all have, have had, or maybe have even been that housemate who skips out on their rostered bi-weekly duties, but if there’s ever been a time to pull your weight on the cleaning front, it’s now. Used the kitchen? clean it. Used the bathroom sink? Give it a quick wipe down. Left some dishes by the couch? Pick ‘em up—thought that one’s just as much base-level courtesy if nothing else.

It’s also worth wiping down surfaces around the house regularly with household disinfectants. And, while you’re at it, give other frequently used items around the house—like the television remote and doorknobs—a once over.


Exercise some more routine in your routines. If you all follow a similar 9-to-5 schedule, pick a time where you, and you only, will be whipping up your 2-minute noodles or 5-course degustation. Once you’re done, give everything a solid clean. The same applies to other areas around the home where you’ll be using your hands a lot—that common sense is really beginning to come in handy, right?

Avoid Sharing

It’s safe to say there’s been a temporary lift on the universal ‘sharing is caring’ mantra, at least around the house. Try assigning yourself your own cups, plates and bowls to play it on the safe side. Same goes in the bathroom when it comes to hand towels and whatever else you may have been previously sharing.

Keep Your Distance

We know you’ve heard this one before, but we’re confident the rote learning technique is applicable here. One of the best ways to minimise Covid-19 spreading is by keeping your distance from others, which at the moment is 1.5m when possible. It may be tough at first, but saving your fistbumps, housemate handshakes and platonic physical affection for when this all blows over will help keep you and your gang fighting-fit.

Wash Your Hands

Just in case this one slipped past you, you really should just do it. Stock up on hand sanitiser and keep a separate bottle for each housemate if possible. Give the tops of the pumps a clean, too, because believe it or not, they won’t clean themselves.

Be Patient With Each Other

Juggling the nuances of housemate relationships can be tough even when your usual schedule means you cross paths with your co-dwellers like ships in the night. The reality is that you’re probably going to be sharing each other’s space far more than usual, so be respectful and remind yourself that we’re all going through the same thing. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some are working from home and isolating alone, so make the most of your company (while keeping that distance, of course) and don’t forget to have a conversation on the lighter things in life. 

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Image credit: Jakob Owen

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