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Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

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Archive - Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Coping and Spouse

Friday, October 05, 2001


ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Helping your employees cope with the recent crisis
  • Is it really a good idea to work with your spouse?

HELPING YOUR EMPLOYEES COPE WITH THE RECENT CRISIS

Please read the following article by the Vancouver Business Journal where I was interviewed on how employers can help their staff deal with the recent terrorist attack.

When a nation’s workforce is wobbling under the weight of a terrorist act, how does that affect employee productivity? And how should employers respond to shell-shocked workers?

Clinical psychologist and small-business consultant Kathy Marshack said there are several things of which employers, managers and supervisors must be aware.

“What I think employers need to understand is that probably there are going to be repercussions for weeks,” the Vancouver psychologist said.

“Everyone has a slightly different way of handling an emergency like this one,” she said.

“A lot of times people come to work and act like everything’s fine because they’re in denial or shock.... Most people will report to work, but they’re still going to be a little out of sync,” she said. Still others are so rattled by an event “that they can’t think straight,” Marshack said.

Although absenteeism isn’t usually a problem initially, Marshack said workers begin calling in sick more frequently as days pass.

“They literally are sick,” she said, noting common ailments include headaches, stomach aches and viral infections. An increase in anger and irritability also is common.
Marshack said some workplace difficulties can be lessened by regular meetings. Such debriefings can provide a source of information as well as support.

“This can help reduce anxiety,” Marshack said.

While it’s not necessarily an employers’ responsibility to help people through such crises, Marshack said they must watch for accidents that may occur during times of shock and upset.

And despite corporate priorities concerning the all-important bottom line, employers must expect lower productivity in the workplace.

“People are stunned,” Marshack said. “When we’re in crisis, our bodies shut down and there’s only so much we can get done.”

IS IT REALLY A GOOD IDEA TO WORK WITH YOUR SPOUSE?

Most of the time I am extolling the virtues of entrepreneurial couples, or at the very least, discussing how to successfully solve problems that come up for families in business. The lifestyle can be extremely rewarding when you work with the ones you love. As I have said often, “Who better to trust with your business than your spouse?” However, there is another side that should be looked at if you are considering the entrepreneurial couple life. That is, just what are you missing in your marriage and your work life by working with your spouse?

Here are some important things to consider:

  • WILL YOU HAVE TIME FOR ROMANCE? One of the major complaints I hear from practically all entrepreneurial couples is that they no longer have enough quality time together for romance and friendship.
  • CAN YOU HANDLE COMPETITION IN YOUR MARRIAGE? Another stressor for entrepreneurial couples is competition between them. This goes for other family members too. We have a strong need for recognition and approval from our spouses. We also have a strong need to feel like powerful, accomplished adults. But how do you feel about competing with your spouse? Who’s the boss? Who defers to whom? Can you gloat about an accomplishment when you just bested your spouse?
  • COULD YOU SUFFER FROM A LACK OF CREATIVITY? Many members of family enterprises complain that their world is small. In other words they don’t get out much, especially the women. When you work with family members, the only feedback you get is from family and this can be limiting. Working separately enables each partner to learn about the outside world more.
  • WILL YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR YOURSELF? As important as it is to reconnect with your loved ones at least once a day, it is also important to have time to yourself. Seldom do I hear entrepreneurial couples complain that they have too much time with their spouses, but they do complain that they have no time to themselves.

Read more on the possible downside of working with your spouse in my latest “Families In Business” column – (insert hotlink)

Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter. For more information on how entrepreneurial couples can make it work at work and at home go to my web site www.entrepreneurialcouples.com. You’ll find exercises, a library of family business articles, on-line consultation and much more. To contact my office call (360) 256-0448 or (503) 222-6678 or email info@kmarshack.com.