Should You Work With Your Family?


Often, the people you work with become like family. You work side by side for long hours, under stressful deadlines, or in challenging situations. Why not work with people who are part of your family? After all, they have loved and supported you since you were born. You can trust them to have your back, but is that enough for a successful business venture? Is blurring the line between family and coworkers a smart move?

Benefits of working with family

If you’re starting a new business with your family or joining the family business, you are collaborating with a group of people who are focused on more than just the bottom line.

“In a family business, your employees aren’t just working for a corporation, they are working to carry on the family tradition and contribute to the family legacy,” according to Eric Holtzclaw, company strategist and Inc.com writer.

As a family, you’re already skilled at operating as a unit. You understand each other on a much deeper level than you would a non-family member coworker. According to The Balance writer Ryan Robinson, because you know their interaction style, you won’t be blindsided by character flaws that may put the business at risk.

The comradery you and your family members have already cultivated spills over into your work environment, making for a more relaxed workplace, he adds.

With family working together, you’ll waste no time when starting a new project or enterprise.

“It’s easier to get the ball rolling if you’re launching a company fast because you won’t have to bother with interviewing potential partners, checking backgrounds, or following up on the certifications and qualifications you’ve been told,” according to Robinson.

Negatives of working with family

When you work with your family, you may not be able to separate your professional life from your personal life. You cannot exactly complain to your coworkers about your family and vice versa when they are one in the same. And, if there are problems at the office, they can surface at inappropriate times.

“Birthday parties, barbecues, reunions, and weddings are not the time to air the business. You don’t want tensions brewing at the office to boil over in front of the entire family,” warns Entrepreneur Leadership Network VP John Rampton.

It’s almost impossible not to bring emotions into your workday because you’re working with people who are connected to you on an emotional level. Criticizing a family member can be more intense than criticizing a coworker who isn’t related to you, and old rifts can break open again, Rampton warns.

Family always goes above and beyond for their loved ones. Most times this is a blessing, but at work, family members may feel it is okay to take advantage of the family bond.

“While not each and every family member is guilty of this, there are some who take advantage of being a part of the family to ask for time off, miss deadlines, come in late, go home early or presume their authority,” adds Rampton.

Working with your family can reap unbelievable benefits and surprising downsides. Since the stakes are so high for your career and your personal life, be sure you have thought long and hard about your decision to join forces with the ones you love.

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