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When your home and work lives overlap

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Do you employ family members at your business?

  • No — 36.54%
  • Yes, they’re great — 24.04%
  • Yes, but it’s a mixed bag — 23.08%
  • Yes, but I wish I didn’t — 16.35%

Clearly, a solid majority of respondents work with a family member, but it appears that the relationship isn’t always sunshine and roses.  Being someone who also works with family, I’ve found it helps to establish definite roles and responsibilities in the working relationship — just like we divvy up chores around the house.  That way, each person knows what he or she needs to do and no one steps on toes — or has theirs stepped on.

It also takes good communication skills.  Having the ability to share honest, constructive feedback about work issues without concern that it will spill over into your personal life is necessary.

And while I might forget sometimes to tell my husband how much I appreciate his hard work taking care of the lawn, I cannot forget to tell him what a great job he does marketing our business.   Being sure to tell family members what they do well and how it values the business is equally important.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.

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