Family businesses are advantageous – but they can also be challenging. On top of facing all the typical difficulties that a regular company will come up against, there are the added complications of mixing money and family, among other things.
So, that raises the question; how does one set healthy boundaries when working in a family business? Read below to get a better idea of why doing so is essential and how to get started.
There are many reasons to ensure that a clear path of understanding is created when starting a family business. The lines are already at risk of blurring before throwing in the idea of working alongside parents, cousins, etc.
As such, it is critical to make it clear right from the start that this is a business. In other words, they’re working in a business setting. Additionally, creating work contracts for each employee – family members included – will help clarify any responsibilities.
Communication is Key
It’s easy to let frustration build up until it explodes inappropriately. This is to be avoided at all costs – especially when business and family are mixed into one. As such, one should create open channels of communication.
This includes bringing up difficult conversations, as much as everyone would rather avoid them. Significant issues cannot be swept under the rug, especially not when the business is riding on it.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs struggle to find a work/life balance. All too often, they end up bringing their work home, removing any chance of a healthy break. This happens in family businesses as well, as family members all too often turn any family gathering into a business meeting. This blurring of boundaries is unhealthy for everyone involved. Working unpaid is not only illegal in many areas, but it can quickly lead to burnout.
The reverse situation is likewise problematic. Family members shouldn’t bring the outside into work. In other words – they shouldn’t bring family problems into a work setting. Similarly, they should avoid certain behaviors that, while acceptable from a family member, would be inappropriate from a coworker. It’s all about maintaining that healthy balance.