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Couples Working At Home: How To Get Along & Make It Work

Aug 17, 2007
Couples begin working from home for many different reasons. Sometimes it's by choice, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes it's an opportunity, sometimes it's a necessity. Whatever the situation, you'll get off to a better start if you both agree that the best course of action is to work at home.

It's virtually impossible to work happily at home without the cooperation and support of your spouse, so a joint decision will most certainly work better than issuing an edict or even simply making an announcement that you've decided to work at home. Even if you already have an office at home, it's not too late to sit down and talk about whether it's working out.

Be honest about how you feel about using your home as an office and encourage your spouse to be honest too. Discuss your concerns openly. If you're worried that your spouse will never leave the office, say so. If you're concerned that the children will be neglected, say so. The potential problems you identify can help you develop a practical plan to guard against them.

Specific Steps You Can Take:

* Make the decision to work at home a joint one.
* Express your reasons for wanting to work at home.
* Discuss your concerns openly and encourage your spouse to do so as well.
* Thank your spouse for each concern he or she brings up.
* Respond honestly to each other's concerns.
* Take each concern seriously and get the facts about it.
* Think of possible solutions and develop a plan for how to avoid potential problems.
* Test out your solutions. See if they work. Revise them when they don't work to your or your mate's satisfaction.

The inevitable changes that take place when you start working from home can strain your relationship. The situation doesn't have to become painful, however. The initial stress can be a sign of new and better things to come. But you must be alert and responsive to difficulties that arise while they are still manageable.

Here are some of the healthy reactions a couple can expect. They don't always feel good, but they are a normal part of the process of changing your lifestyle.

Conflicts with New Identities: The decision to work at home is almost always part of a larger decision to change your life, which changes your identity. People who begin working at home are at turning points in their lives. Assuming a new identity is a major adjustment in itself. Add working from home and the many accompanying changes in daily routine and you can see why people going through so many adjustments may not be easy to live with. You can understand why they may be unsure of themselves, edgy, worried, or struggling to put up a good front. Even when spouses want to be supportive, and actually think they are helping, they may not welcome all aspects of their mate's new identity.

Disputes over Duties and Responsibilities: Working from home usually means changes in household routines. Many arguments and conflicts can arise over day-to-day arrangements about:

1. Cleaning. Living and working at home twenty-four hours a day means more mess and more wear and tear. Who does the extra work to keep the house in order? When does it have to be cleaned up or repaired? Do children now have to be neater because customers are coming to the house? If so, who gets the children to clean up? If the packaging department of your business is on the dining room table, how long can it stay like that, and who puts everything away - the person who made the mess or the person who wants it cleaned up?

2. Meals. Working at home usually means at least one extra meal there. So you need to discuss who plans it, who buys it, who fixes it, who cleans it up. If you have been fixing the meals, for example, will you still have time to fix them all, or to fix the same kinds of meals, now that you're working at home?

3. Space. Working at home can place certain limitations on what your family can do there or even on other things you want to do. If your family room is now your office, where does everyone go to relax? Can they have company while you are working? Can your spouse walk around the house in a bathing suit during business hours? You'll need to consider issues like whether your family can play the stereo or talk on the phone whenever they want, or if such activity infringes on your office space.

4. Children. Children need a lot of attention. They can be a distraction and an interruption that makes work next to impossible. A decision has to be made about who handles this. Does the one working at home take on more of these responsibilities than before? Who keeps the children quiet or out of your office?

5. Time. Once your office is at home, you need to determine who gets to spend time with you and when. If you're away at the office all day, you clearly can't take the kids to the park after school.
About the Author
Jeff Casmer is an internet marketing consultant with career sales over $25,000,000. His "Top Ranked" Earn Money at Home Directory gives you all the information you need to start and prosper with your own Internet Home Based Business.
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