If you work with your husband or wife, you know that maintaining a work-life balance is critical to the success of your career and your marriage. But whether your spouse is your business partner or just your co-worker, sharing an office can be tricky: Issues that arise during the work day can rear their ugly heads while you're watching TV together, and arguments from your personal lives can spill over into business hours.
Guy Oranim and Sharon Rechter, the husband-and-wife team that founded cable television channel BabyFirst, have been working together since 2004. Since then, they have grown their 24/7 baby- and toddler-oriented network to reach 40 million U.S. homes through major cable providers. Over the last nine years, the married couple has learned a lot about how to successfully work with their spouse.
"People are different at work and at home, so you need to lay out the rules before working with your husband or wife," Rechter told BusinessNewsDaily. "Talk openly and candidly about your expectations before you start, so if something doesn't work out, you can walk away without damaging your personal relationship."
Oranim, the company's CEO, and Rechter, executive vice president of business development and marketing, shared their own rules and survival tips for working with your life and business partner.
Respect each other. In the office and at home, you need to believe that your spouse is the best at what he or she does. Even if your spouse's opinion is different from yours, you should listen and respect each other's viewpoints — you never know when your spouse might be right!
Define your responsibilities. Oranim and Rechter take a "divide and conquer" approach to their business and have a clear understanding of who is in charge of certain things. You can consult with each other, but at the end of the day, one of you should be the decision maker for each business issue.
Separate home and work issues. When you and your spouse are both passionate about what you do, it can be difficult to separate your personal and professional lives. Define what comes first for both of you. Rechter said she and her husband have agreed that their love and marriage comes before anything in their business, so they try not to lose perspective when there's a heated disagreement in the office.
Don't make work your entire life. This advice primarily applies to spouses who run a business together, but even co-working spouses can get bogged down by their careers. Find a way to disconnect from your business and take time for your personal life together. You chose your partner for who he or she is, not for their sales abilities.
Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Out of all of your colleagues, your husband or wife has the purest motivations. When your spouse makes a business decision that you don't understand, don't assume that it was a move against you. As your partner, he or she isn't competing for your job or trying to get ahead of you — believe that all decisions are made with each other's well-being in mind.
"It's good to have a business partner that has your interests at heart," Rechter said. "There's no one I love and respect more than my husband, and I know he wants what's best for me."
"It's a great privilege to work with your spouse," Oranim added. "When you work in different places, you don't understand what it's like to go through your spouse's day. Working together means you can share your personal and professional concerns, fears and hopes. It's very fulfilling."
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.