6 Tips for Success and Sanity when Working with Family
Work with family? I could never do that. If you’ve ever thought this, you are not alone. Many people believe that the dynamics of their family could not transfer to the work place, but I am here to tell you that is possible. We are 6 years into this business, and although working with family has its challenges, it is also extremely fulfilling to be able to create and build something meaningful together.
Here are 6 Things we do as co-working family members to make it work:
1. Respect roles and responsibilities
We recognize who has the decision-making power over certain areas in our company and we support that family member. It wasn’t like that at the beginning, which caused a large amount of confusion and frustration. However, once we defined the roles of each member of our family it became easy to not step on each other’s toes and allowed everyone to focus on what they need to complete in order to make this company a success.
2. Address any issues as they surface rather than letting them build up
I know a lot about my family coworkers, including what makes them happy and what irritates them. By knowing my coworkers on such a personal level, it can make it difficult to always be rational or fair with my own thoughts and feelings. The biggest issues we have always had have been down to communication, specifically with letting issues (and personal feelings) sit and fester as opposed to addressing them early on. When working with your family COMMUNICATION is key, and constantly needs to be evaluated to assure that everyone is effectively and respectfully addressing one another and the problems that arise.
3. Keep business talk at a minimum when outside of the business
We have a family rule that when we are together for family time, the conversation of business needs to be checked at the door. We want to nurture our family relationships and make sure they are not just built on a business interaction. Funny work stories are always welcome and encouraged, but nothing critical or sensitive is mentioned.
4. Gauge your overall job satisfaction and make adjustments as necessary
This is a tough one, as we all wear so many hats as owners of our own business, but it is still important to address. When looking at your responsibilities as well as the responsibilities of the members of your family, are you happy with your job description? Is everyone playing their part to accomplish the company’s goals? If there are issues here- try to set a meeting with the appropriate parties to discuss your feelings, as it can be emotionally draining and difficult to balance working with your family, and tensions and familial tendencies can quickly arise.
5. Rework the office space
Initially, we all spent almost every second of every day together, and sometimes we wanted to kill each other! Since we spend time together from a business standpoint and a familial one, it has done us a great service to mix things up. Some of us work remotely, others on different floors of the brewery, and some us of come and go throughout the week. This really helps us so that it doesn’t become too much, and allows us to let those small annoyances (like Kyle constantly clearing his throat while he’s working) go.
6. Maintain your personal life to keep a work-life balance
To have a healthy working relationship it is imperative to make sure the boundary is set between your work and personal time. Your identity can quickly be overtaken by the demands of family and work, especially when these aspects are intertwined. We all make sure that we allot time outside of work for our own social circles and personal interests, and don’t criticize one another for the much needed “me” time.
What is the biggest key to working with family?
Everything on this list has one common thread: intentional choice. As a family, we choose to be respectful, choose to communicate, choose to work together, and it paying out for us. Whether you are considering working with family or you are already in business with them, your thoughtful choices can greatly influence how the experience is shaped.
My family members and I enjoy each other’s company (for the most part), and we are blessed to watch this company grow and to share in the rewards of this experience. It isn’t always easy, but the good far outweighs the bad in our opinion.
Have any comments about working with family? Drop them below!