One of the toughest parts of my job is working with the man I married. When you add into the mix, that we each work full time, often side by side, in the same house we ‘go home to’, this can be very challenging. Granted I choose to work together with my husband and he with myself and this allows a certain flexibility that we need for our blended family. Some days are much better than others and I have picked up a few tips that I can share.
How To Work Together and Remain Married
Work Time and Home Time
One of the first things I learned was to create boundaries around work and home time. A little difficult when working within our home, but we had to learn that there were times for work and times for family. Generally our work day begins over a cuppa in the morning and extends all the way to a glass of wine at night, this is our trigger point that we need the work day to end. For us, this can be anywhere from 4pm to 8pm depending on the day. That first glass of wine is our knock off bell. This is when conversation turns to kids and life in general, my favourite time of the day.
Create Work Spaces
It was really important for our work identities for us to define work spaces for ourselves. I work at a desk nook near our kitchen and The Builder works at his desk in the library. Being Husband and Wife, it is really easy for us to think of each other that way all the time, but in order for your working relationship not to blur, we need to be able to think of each other as business partners. Our separate spaces go a long way to helping this. The Builder knows when I am sitting at my desk, I am Nicole Business Manager and Blogger and likewise he at his desk. Everywhere else in the home, I am his wife and pet names are ok.
This has been (and continues to be) one of the hardest parts of working together. It is extremely important for our working relationship to work around a healthy respect for one another and the roles we have in the business. In the beginning our roles were not defined and this created much tension, now that we have the definition and continue to refine that, we find that we are able to avoid this source of tension.
Fight The Fair Fight
Couples fight, it is normal. The key here is to be able to distance yourself from those normal arguments when it comes time for work. The Builder and I may have had a doozy the night before, but once we begin our working day, all that needs to be put aside for the good of the job. Honestly this is not easy, hurt is hurt, but professional also needs to be professional. We have learned that on these days, one of us is best placed working outside of the office if at all possible, otherwise we just have to get on with it.
Wear A Uniform
This one didn’t work for us for long, but it has helped so many of our friends who are in the same situation as us. Wearing a uniform gave the feeling of work time, helped to create that definition between work and family time. I’m not a uniform person and so this didn’t work for a long time, but I certainly have more professional clothes for work time than home time and for us this has been enough. Visual reminders of work time are a great assistance to defining that time of day.
It did take us quite a while to master working and living together successfully and we still have our difficult days, but for us these are the tips we picked up along the way. I do hope they will be of some help to you to!
What is the most challenging part of your work day? Do you work with your partner? Are you a uniform wearer?