A Survival Guide To Working At Home With Hubby

by in Family

I'm one of those fortunate (or some would say UNfortunate) ladies who gets to work at home with her significant other. Not only do we keep house together but we raise two kids and run two businesses from the comfort of our home. To some this may sound like a dream – not having to commute to work, being able to spend lots of time with the person you love, getting to work flexible hours and so on.

To others, it sounds downright nightmarish! When I tell people I work at home with my husband, 90% of the time they come back either sarcastically or apprehensively “Oh, how's that going for you?”. Truthfully? I love it! We both do. But we do certain things to ensure our work / home life remain harmonious. Here are 5 tips to having a happy work / life balance with your loved one.

1. Find Separate Work Areas

We spent the first year working in the same small office back to back. It would be to the point that he would roll back and hit me in the back of my chair. Close quarters DON'T do the trick! Even after we moved offices to a bigger room which had a fireplace, couch, lots of white boards and three desks, we still found we were in each other's faces too much. Not that we didn't want to be close to each other, it was just that we were both so DISTRACTING to each other, and thus the quality and quantity of work suffered.

The solution we found? Get a laptop and one of us work upstairs in the dining room while the other work in the office. We communicate by email and Skype most of the day, and when we need to, come and see each other in our “offices”.

2. Book Team Meetings

Yep, I said it, book a meeting with your partner sitting next to you for anything you need to discuss on a daily basis. We found that once we had daily meetings scheduled each morning, we were able to stay more focused and get a lot more work done without the on-going interruptions and distractions. Usually having a morning meeting works better than an afternoon meeting (at least for us) because we're both on the same page as to priorities for the day and make sure we get the most important work done first.

3. Keep Your Family Life Separate from Work Life

When you have a “team meeting” do NOT discuss the kids, dinner, chores or anything else related to your home life. When at the dinner table, leave the blackberry out of the room and do NOT have your work task list discussion. It's important to keep these things completely separate from each other to ensure both are getting the attention they deserve, when you've dedicated the time to focus on them.

We generally work from 9-5 at home. Seems silly to potentially “clock in” at home, but what we found is without a general guideline to the hours we're both working, we would both work overtime and be less productive. Now that doesn't stop us from going for walks together during the day, going to pick up some groceries at lunch and having a flexible schedule altogether, but it does ensure that we DO spend enough time with our kids and each other without always having work on our minds.

4. Make Time For Each Other

You'd think that living, eating, sleeping and working together would be enough time together. For us, we actually found that even though we see each other all day, we don't actually spend any quality time together. That's why we have days and times together where we can do whatever we want but without the kids and without the work. We go on dates a couple times a month to try different restaurants, hit the beach, go for drinks, go to the driving range, go for walks, read together quietly, and watch movies together whether at home our out at the cinema. We don't share this time with our friends or our kids. It's just for us and it makes a great difference.

5. Make Time for Yourself

Just as important as making time for your significant other is to make time for yourself. Without time alone to recoup and regroup (let alone just do the fun things you love that maybe others do not) you'll very quickly go mad. I personally go out every Tuesday night and every other Friday. My husband gets every Wednesday and every other Friday. This might be different for you if you have older kids (or no kids) however with two small kids at home, we understand it's essential to get some air and personal time to have fun! Some ideas of fun things to do for yourself (which I have done myself) are have a girls night out, take a class of some kind, go for a drive to an area you've always wanted to explore, see a movie with your best friend, go to the gym, and so on.

Whatever it is that makes you feel whole and yourself in your own shoes, do it. Not only is it a great stress reliever but it also gives you something new to talk about with your spouse during your quality time together.

Bonus Tip: Listen To Each Other And Walk Away When You Need To

As awesome as we think we are, we're not ALWAYS right. We often know what's best for ourselves and our kids (most of the time) but your spouse also knows whats best for him or her and this could conflict with your mood or beliefs at the time. Heated discussions are bound to happen every now and then when you work on everything together and have differences of opinion. It's essential to take a step back, breathe, and listen to what he or she  has to say. If the discussion just isn't going anywhere because you're both too worked up, take a break and go for a walk, leave the room and come back when you're both more calm to discuss what you need to. As my old high school principal always used to say “Seek first to understand then be understood”. With that in mind, you'll have a better time communicating with each other and finding out the core issues and needs of the person you love.

By following these 5 (or 6) steps, you'll be able to better enjoy your work / life relationship with the person you love.

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About the Author - Sarah Bundy

Sarah is CEO of All Inclusive Marketing, Canada’s Leading Full Service Affiliate Management Company. she has been recognized for 10 sales achievement awards, four customer service awards, been nominated for employee of the year twice, won Marketing MVP twice, and had her company nominated for two different awards in 2009.


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