As the whole country prepares to shut their doors and work from home, it’s not always as much of a fun idea as it may seem. Sure, working in your pyjamas sounds like a great perk of isolation (working from bed sounds like a great idea to us!) but what about when you’re living in a flatshare? How can you manage self-isolation, and not losing the plot with your flatmates, once the novelty wears off?
Never fear – here are our top tips for self-isolating when you’re in a flatshare:
1. Stay away from your flatmates
As silly as it sounds, you may be resorting to face-timing your flatmates in the next room, waving at each other from down the hallway and leaving food and cups of tea outside of each other’s doors! The NHS has advised that you keep at least two metres away from other people, which means lots of group chat activity and quiet evenings in bed!
Avoid the kitchen when a flatmate is in there if you find you have to go into the kitchen whilst occupied, wear a mask. The guidelines also say to take your meals back to your bedroom to eat and if you have a dishwasher, use it to clean and dry your used crockery and cutlery. If not, wash them by hand using detergent and warm water and dry them thoroughly, using a separate tea towel. The government advises you to use a separate bathroom from the rest of the household. This can be quite difficult in a flatshare, as it’s difficult enough trying to get to the bathroom first. Just make sure you clean it properly after each use. Ensure each person uses separate towels from other household members, for drying themselves after bathing, showering and washing hands and keep towels in your own rooms.
2. Wash your hands more regularly, for at least 20 seconds
It may not sound like a lot, but washing your hands often and properly is one of the key things that you can do to protect yourself and others. Remember to use plenty of soap, warm water, and try to get out of the habit of touching your face!
3. Use it, clean it
Inevitably you’ll be using communal areas, such as the kitchen or the bathroom while living in a shared space. It’s extremely important while self-isolating that communal areas are kept clean so that as little cross-contamination occurs as possible. Try keeping anti-bacterial wipes, sprays, sponges and cloths in each area to make this as quick and easy as possible.
4. Find things to do
Finished work for the day? Instead of watching every episode of Game of Thrones back to back for two weeks (easily done!) why not try picking up a new hobby to keep yourself occupied? You could pick up a new language, learn how to knit, or perfect that cocktail you’ve always wanted to try! The possibilities are endless and there are plenty of things that you and your flatmates can do together – just not closer-than-two-metres together!
5. If you develop any symptoms, tell all of your flatmates
If you begin to feel unwell, especially with any of the symptoms listed on the NHS website (such as a fever, dry cough or fatigue) then you should take immediate action! Inform all of your flatmates as soon as possible to begin your self-isolation and not go out for a full two weeks.
While everything is still very uncertain, it is important to remain calm and to make the best of the situation – the most important thing to remember not to panic and just to do the best you can to minimise the risk of spreading infection!