Sharing an apartment with a co-worker can be either a positive or a negative experience. If a co-worker approaches you with the idea of living together, make sure you think the decision through. Before you decide to move in, debate the pros and cons of cohabitation with a co-worker, which include:
Pro 1. A Responsible Roommate
Sharing an apartment with a co-worker doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find a responsible roommate, but if you’re on a cordial but not overly friendly basis, you’re less likely to deal with a roommate who shirks responsibility. A family member or friend roommate is more likely to skip payments and not clean up after him or herself than someone who gets along with you on a professional level.
Pro 2. A More Private Life
You’re more likely to feel you have ample privacy when sharing an apartment with a co-worker than a friend or family member, for good and for bad. A co-worker likely won’t pry into your business and wonder where you’ve been when you’re out at night, but a friend or family member might.
Pro 3. Carpooling
You both have to get to the same place each day. If you work the same shifts, you have the perfect carpool solution, which will save both of you money in the long term. Write up a chart plotting whose turn it is to drive or, if one of you is without a car, a fair amount of payment the car owner should receive for gas and maintenance contributions.
Con 1. People Act Differently Outside of Work
You may think your co-worker is a considerate, funny and all-around fantastic person at work, but most people put on their best faces in a professional environment. Even if you’re friends outside of work, it’s not quite the same as living with a person 24/7. There’s a chance your co-worker could prove grating and irresponsible as a roommate, even if he or she is the complete opposite at work.
Con 2. Gossip Gone Bad
Going home to someone to whom you can vent about a bad day at work may backfire if your roommate is your co-worker. Your roommate may like another co-worker you dislike or vice-versa. You may have to keep your opinions about all work-related people and matters to yourself or you could find your co-worker spreading gossip about what you’ve said.
Con 3. There’s No Avoiding Each Other
If sharing an apartment with a co-worker roommate doesn’t work out, you’ll still have to see the co-worker nearly every day at your job. This can be especially awkward if there were difficult times between the two of you at your apartment. It’s almost like dating a co-worker and breaking up, so be prepared for possible uncomfortable moments at work.
If you get along with your co-worker, choosing a co-worker as a roommate can be a great idea. However, don’t let the fear of a sour working relationship stop you from politely rejecting a co-worker’s offer of cohabitation if you feel it’s for the best (or to move out if you find it’s not working). Working together even with hurt feelings is better than living in an uncomfortable environment together!