Finding the right balance between work and leisure for family businesses

As we know, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and a lack of downtime can be detrimental to valuable relationships when it comes to family businesses too. Striking the right balance between work and leisure is vital for boosting morale, increasing productivity, nurturing mental wellbeing and achieving business success. Here’s our tips on keeping everybody sweet whilst embarking on an entrepreneurial venture as a family.

So it’s Friday night, you’ve sunk a few glasses of wine, you’re feeling liberated from the shackles of working life and then your boss calls. Out of hours. “Yeah, right!” you scoff as you switch your phone off and toss it into the depths of your sitting room where it will stay until 7am on Monday morning. However, this scenario is exactly the type of luxury those running a family business just aren’t afforded. Your colleagues are the people sat next to you flicking the switch on your favourite programmes and claiming the leftovers of your Friday night fish ‘n’ chips.

If you’re thinking of starting up or are already running a family business then follow our top five tips for productive harmony to make sure your world of work and private life are both positive places to be.

  • Be stringent with time management – When it comes to bathroom slots and there are three or more people fighting to judge their own reflections in the mirror, time management goes to pot and that’s okay. It’s all part of the family life charm. But when it’s time to get down to business, impeccable management is paramount.

In the same vein, knowing when to call it a wrap on the working day is equally as important.  Set a work model guideline with rough working hours in the same way you would if you were working with non-family members and stick to them! With the rise of modern technology, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do this, we know, but routine is not only great for productivity, it’s conducive to personal satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

  • Stay in character – Knowing when to apply time pressures and when to allow slack comes hand-in-hand with knowing when to switch up the roles of businessperson and family member. Although it may seem like the centre of your universe, business is just a small part of your life but you’re stuck with family for good. Adopting a work voice and professional persona that you can hang up at the end of each day can help you and everybody else stay focused on the task in hand and know when it’s time to just relax.
  • Leave pressing issues at the door – Do this in the same way you would wipe the dirt of your shoes after a strenuous walk in the countryside to save dirtying the plush carpet you work so hard to maintain. Just like the carpet, family dynamics are vulnerable to destruction and it takes conscious effort to avoid such consequences. Leaving work-related issues in the workplace and not bringing them into the family home can go a long way towards striking a healthy balance between business and leisure.
  • Allow for hypersensitivity – In high-stress situations, people say and do things they wouldn’t usually do and colleagues can feel upset or angered by the backlash of this. When you’re working alongside the people who mean most to you in the world, these reactions can become amplified due to hypersensitivity. If a non-related colleague gets your goat, you shrug it off and get on with your day but when it comes to family members, things can become a little more delicate. Just remember to consider this whenever you’re feeling tense and looking for somewhere to vent your feelings.

Respect timeouts and personal space – You’re likely spending over 8 hours a day in each other’s company before you even head home together so acknowledging the benefits of time apart is essential. Outstaying your welcome in somebody’s personal space can lead to toxic feelings of resentment that spill out over the professional boundaries. Regular breaks to visit friends, get some exercise and fresh air or even just cash in on some well-earned alone time can help diffuse any feelings of irritation that could develop into a bigger issue in the future.

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