I had a conversation with my wife at the beginning of this year if a wife should be working with her husband, given that the husband is the boss or owner of the company.
And the next day, i see a tweet from Martin Varsavsky (blog here) about companies forbidding relationships between employees and his point of view about love.
I am might accept that a couple work for the same company if they are on 2 different levels or departments, but definitely i am against it if the husband is the boss/owner of the business.
I am against it for 2 reasons, 1st their private life will be invaded by work, 2nd the workplace and the other employees will have to behave differently.
No matter how objective and professional the couple is, the daily work flow or problems will follow them back home and sometimes this might lead to have the general atmosphere tensed and anxious inside the house, in front of other members and specially this is very bad in the presence of kids and i have witnessed this.
No matter how big or small the problem is, at one point during the evening the conversation will pop up, it might not end with a fight but it is there instead of other subjects that can be discussed outside the 9-5 office hours.
Plus any couple should miss each other to feel the passion and love, if you are spending 8-9 hours in the same office, then 5-6 hours home before sleeping, i am not really sure how someone can miss the other partner?
For me the bigger problem is the workplace, if the husband is the boss/owner and his wife is in key position (which is normal and a fact most of the time, as the wife will not accept to have a small role) and the life of some employees will have to make a turn no matter what.
Employees will behave differently and won’t be themselves no matter how much the boss is open minded, professional and understand this fact, at the end of the day, it is his wife we are talking about.
So employees get trapped between not saying anything and making the boss angry which might lead making the wife angry which might lead to some kind of revenge, or keep their mouth shut and live with it.
Living and working with a shut mouth, can lead to less productive employees, thus trying to find a new job and always feeling insecure and this will lead also to endless conversations next to the water-cooler or photocopier, analyzing the couple and their life style and management style and a start for an endless number of gossips and rumors.
Also this can have a reverse effect by bringing home problems to work. Kids school behavior, color of the sofa they want to buy, vacation they want to have, food they will eat tonight and so on…, there will be almost no privacy for the boss and his wife.
Another fact (women accept it or not) is the female jealousy, which can raise lots of problem to the husband in case of the presence of beautiful female employees that need to work closely with the boss and be present with him behind closed doors. And many of you, will bring the trust issue up here, but believe me this has nothing to do with trust.
Unfortunately most of the couples working together don’t know how and where to draw the line between their private and professional lives. Actually it all depends on the maturity level of the particular couple.
All the above is my own personal opinion, and i have witnessed some of the above facts, now i am ready to read your comments. And just for the record, i don’t own my company and my wife doesn’t work with me.