Working with Your Partner (or stuck in Lock Down)

Working with Bridget since 2013 has been fantastic for me (and sometimes her!) – there’s no one I’d rather be spending my time with than Bridget. In saying that, there’s some unique challenges that can occur that other relationships may not. We spend so much time together that even in our “down time” it was hard at one point to stop the work talk and just relax. We’re still – even after all this time – working through how we can improving our continued working relationship, because there’s still things that get up our noses.

During the lock down, a hidden benefit to me was having guilt free time at home with Bridget (meaning as we couldn’t work I didn’t feel guilt not working). I also found it interesting how a number of couple experienced what I’ve nicknamed “Covid divorces” – couples who may have been married a long time that struggled to cope being around each other so much. So here’s a couple of things I thought might be of interest, whether you’re working together or stuck in lock down.

Have “Me” Time. Being around each other all day might work for us, however no matter who you are you’ll still need some “me” time. Read a book, go to the gym, catch up with friends, study, do your hobby… Whatever it might be, make sure your own “cup” is full. I personally get some of the best “me” time from a hour at the gym most days, and every now and then escape into a mindless game on the phone for 10 minutes. I’m also not including the hobbies that you might share with your partner – those are awesome, however not what I’m meaning. What’s your me time?

Don’t Talk Shop Off-The-Clock. Real estate never stops. The phone will ring with an interested buyer anytime, a vendor can urgently need attention, and you’re always thinking about getting the next deal / listing. This makes it difficult when there’s no real set clock-off time, therefore work and work / shop talk can leak into bedtime conversations if you’re not careful. My worst sin in this regard is checking an email just before turning the light out for the night – finding something thought-worthy – and sharing it. Worst – idea – ever. Try as I might, I’m still working on this, however it’s a great idea to get some guidelines – maybe if you work from home you set “work hours”.

Have Specific Set Jobs / Task. One of the dangers of working together can be communication – mainly lack of. Who is doing what task? Was it done? Is one person waiting on the other for something to be completed? Was there an expectation of something to be completed, however wasn’t ever asked? These are every day challenges for couples working together, and can be quite frustrating. My suggestion; set out clear roles, jobs and expectations. Have a way of communicating tasks (and where the task is at) – could be a shared app like “To Do”, could be Google Docs, a spreadsheet in DropBox – of even a whiteboard. Whatever works for you and your communicating. Bonus suggestion: If you’re responsible for a job or task – do it. Nothing worse than making your partner mad “at work” (particularly with so many working from home now) – it’s a whole new challenge dealing with that issue when you’re meant to be clocked off for the day.

Make Time For Quality Time. Any relationship advise since the being of time suggests that you should always make time for each other. Not just any time; this is where you might have a date night, joint hobbies (you both love), walks – whatever works for you both – that you both enjoy.

Working together can be such a great addition to a relationship – or it can break one. After 8 years working with Bridget we still have our own challenges – however I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Stu Dunn

With a background in sales and behavioural science, I enjoy learning more about people, behaviour, psychology - which led into motivation - and more recently - sales again. Having started my own real estate company with my wife, it's time to merge interests.
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