Do you and your spouse work together? How can you separate business from your personal life?
Maybe you’re both employed by the same company. You might even work in the same office space. Or, perhaps you own or operate a business together. Whatever that looks like, building a healthy work-life balance is essential.
It’s not unusual for married couples to work together. And, it’s common for couples like you to struggle a bit with separating business from home. We should know; we work together, too!
There are a few simple changes you can make to the way you communicate that will help you create better work-life boundaries for your relationship. Let’s get into what that might look like for you.
Decide Where and When to Talk About Work
As a general rule, it’s best to keep your work- or business-related conversations in the workplace. It’s easy to let all the shared elements of your life blend together. However, that can negatively impact your intimacy and family time.
Your best bet is to decide together when and where you’re going to handle conversations about work. Do this ahead of time so you’re prepared before anything comes up. Having a plan in place can help you stick to your decisions later.
First, you’ll need to agree on the times and places where work conversations can happen. Will you wait until you get to the office to talk about work? If you commute together, will you discuss work on the way?
If you want to confine work conversation to specific times of day, decide what that window of time looks like. Is it a typical 9-5? Will you limit work conversations to business hours, or allow some space before and after for important professional discussions? Whatever you decide, make sure you both feel comfortable with the times and places.
Of course, it’s best to look at this as a general guideline. Not every situation or issue will fit neatly into your boundaries. Still, setting them up will help guide you toward a better balance.
When You’re Home, Focus on Being Home
We like to say there’s no pillow talk about the workplace. So when you’re home, focus on being fully present at home with one another. If you have children, this will benefit the kids, too.
There’s nothing wrong with checking in with one another about work when you’re home, especially plans and scheduling for the day or week ahead. However, we recommend avoiding deep work discussions in bed or around the table at mealtimes. Your marriage and family need nurturing, so try to stay aware of where you’re focusing your attention at home.
You don’t want work-related conversations to bleed into family time, dinner time, date nights, and intimate times. Being strategic about when to talk about work isn’t complicated, but it can make a tremendous difference in your marriage.
If You Work From Home Together…
If you work from home together, that’s a little trickier. You’ll need to do extra due diligence to separate business from life. Do try to designate specific times for work discussions, and keep those chats away from the bedroom and the dinner table.
Here are a few other tips to consider:
- If you can, separate your home office and work areas from your living space.
- Think about setting up official start and stop times for your work day so you can focus on your relationship outside of work.
- Try to avoid setting up a work space in the bedroom.
Reclaim the Most Important Hours of the Week
If you and your spouse have found yourselves absorbed in too much work and not enough time for yourselves, it’s time to reclaim your most important hours. Start with dinnertime: the most important hour a family can spend together. Our book, The Hour That Matters Most, will help guide you to transform and strengthen your family, starting with the time you spend around the dinner table. You can order your copy here.
Do you and your spouse work together? How do you maintain work-life balance? Share your tips in the comments section.
My husband and I have a handyman business together. He is the handyman and I do the office tasks. I often ask my husband if he’s ready to talk about business stuff before I dive into whatever I want to discuss because sometimes he’s too tired to talk about the books, etc., after working all day. Likewise, he asks if I am ready to talk about ordering tools and scheduling, etc., because I also work another job. This simple question helps make sure we’re both in the right headspace to get work done.
Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I are in a very similar situation as you and your husband. At times it is very hard to separate work from home and that is when trouble starts. I will try your suggestions as well as some of the other tips shared here.
thank you for this,my wife and i run a family business which is a confectionary and pizza/ icecream parlor apart from her 9-5hrs Human Resourses work and i run my engineering service coy providing power to home and offices with more time in my hand to oversee family business and this makes my wife talk more,shout more and getting moody all because staff are dropping balls thereby putting the blame at my feet robbing me of my good time with my wife so i have to be patient and calmly talk things over but these tips are quite helpful for me.