My Boss Stole My Boyfriend!

At this time of year we hear a lot about office romance and the familiar stats are rolled out about co-worker fraternisation (a recent study reported 41% of employees have had an intimate relationship with a colleague)! It seems only natural, when we spend so much time at work, that our offices become incubators for relationships to blossom, sweet nothings to be whispered, and bodily fluids swapped!

Not all lunchroom love stories start in the office

Sometimes relationships that are born outside the workplace can be even more difficult to navigate when work/life balance becomes one big mash up. 

Working with small businesses, we, at wattsnext, come across many complicated family trees within the organisations we support, so we’re not unaccustomed to a brother, wife, high-school-best-friend, nephew, or sister’s-friend-of-a-friend! I thought we already had enough insight into the joys and complexities of having a husband and wife duo at the helm of our business, when I introduced my boyfriend to my boss. A couple of beers and cocktails later, on a rooftop bar in New York City, the wheels were set in motion for another dynamic duo to nestle in to wattsnext!

Fast forward 6 months and I wanted to share what we have learned integrating another family member into our team:

  1. Communicate! (Shock Horror!) – When four people within a small team are aware of what’s happening and how the situation came about, it’s easy to assume that this understanding flows quite easily onto the rest of the crew. However, when it isn’t explicitly outlined for the whole business why this person is joining the team, and the key skills and experience they bring (apart from making a great boyfriend and drinking buddy!), it can make for a stilted onboarding.
  • Don’t forget the onboarding! – Just because you presume they have listened to you talk about all the minute details of your workplace and ‘how you do things here’, it doesn’t mean that they actually know the ins and outs of what it takes to be an employee. A structured onboarding, the same as everyone else, is so important to ensure they hit the ground running and aren’t left piecing things together or missing crucial business history and culture lessons!
  • Create boundaries! – when you live and work together, you will talk about work A LOT. When things are good you will be strategising and fuelling each other’s excitement over all the possibilities that are at your fingertips. When things are challenging or stressful, you have someone to commiserate with because they totally get it! Finding a healthy balance will be different for everyone but we find that commuting separately gives us real barrier between our work and home selves. 

Like everything in work and in life, sharing your career sphere with a loved one has its ups and downs. For me, and our new Operations Manager, it has been a super rewarding experience that has given us a new appreciation for what the other has to offer a workplace, even if I do now have to share my boyfriend with my boss!

Photo by Nick Fewings

Author: wattsnext Group
The wattsnext Group blog is a compilation of ideas and expertise from the entire team, past and present with a few added gems from guest authors from time to time. With this collaborative approach, we can provide you with a broader perspective and high-level expertise across the small business landscape.