Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty Kundra and her husband, Raj Kundra, recently launched a joint business initiative. As per a report, later this month, they will head to London, UK, to celebrate the successful launch of their endeavour. While Shilpa and Raj might have hit it off well professionally, more often than not, it is believed that couples prefer not working together, or with each other, fearing over-exposure and lack of space. But that perception seems to be undergoing a change of late.
A study conducted by the Utah State University, Baylor University, and some other schools — it was published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology — shows that “spouses connected by work can provide each other with a unique form of support, making them happier at home and more productive on the job”.
Another example is that of designer duo Falguni and Shane Peacock. Soon after getting married in 2001, Falguni joined her husband’s label, and hasn’t once looked back since. “Initially, we had our own labels. But when we got married, we didn’t see a point in working on separate brands. So, we decided to merge our talents and work together towards a common vision. This was a good decision, since our ideas and thought processes are very similar,” she says, adding that working with her husband is something that has helped them in their personal as well as professional lives, and was the most logical step that they’ve taken.
Even though there is no denying that working together can be tricky at times, consultant psychiatrist Rajesh Goyal has noticed that starting a business with your spouse turns out to be beneficial in a majority of cases these days. “In this situation, your business partner is someone who you are emotionally attached to. So, if you strike a balance between your personal and professional life, things work well,” he adds.
In agreement to this is Rishit Sanghvi (34). He co-founded a health app called MyDIETist, with his wife, Prachi Sanghvi (33), earlier this year. They have been married for eight years. “The best part of working together is that you are working with your best friend, who, you know, will cover your back in any circumstances,” says Rishit, who feels that working together also leads to mutual respect, as both the husband and the wife are aware of the challenges the other faces at work.
For Shane, working with Falguni is exciting because they share a common vision and passion for their work, which, in turn, helps them achieve their goals faster. “It makes the process much more fulfilling too,” he adds.
However, not everyone shares the same opinion. When Neha Shah, a 28-year-old advertising professional, got married to her boyfriend of four years, Rahul Oberoi (32), several people suggested that she join his production house, as it specialised in making ad films. They both belonged to the same field. “But I was sure that I will never do that,” says Shah, adding, “You’re at home together all the time in any case, so it was important for me to have that space for a few hours. Otherwise, we would always be in each other’s face.”
Many such couples like keeping their professional lives separate fearing conflicts due to over involvement in each other’s matters, and lack of independence, among other reasons.
In the cases where there is no choice, and couples stand to benefit greatly by working together, experts feel making a little effort can go a long way.
Manu Indrayan, who runs 612 League, a clothing brand with his wife, Mohita Indrayan, says “switching off from work is most important”. “Many work discussions can find their way to the dinner table, but one has to consciously restrict them to the office, especially when you want to spend time with the children and your other family members,” he says.
Benefits of working together
* Couples get to spend more time together, and that can bring them closer
* Knowing you have each other’s back really reduces the stress levels at work
* Couples can treat outstation travel assignments as mini breaks (once the work is done), and use that quality time to indulge in activities that both the partners enjoy
* Since both the partners are involved in the same profession, there is greater respect for each other’s time. There’s also a greater understanding of the challenges that present themselves from time to time.
Dos and don’ts
* When getting into a business partnership with your spouse, the following points should be kept in mind to maintain a healthy relationship and avoid conflict:
* Never take domestic issues to the office, and vice versa
* Have clearly segregated roles and responsibilities in office. Each person must take complete responsibility for the pros and cons of any decision he/she takes.
* Don’t seek each other’s advice at every step at work
* Restrict personal talks only to lunch breaks
* Segregate responsibilities at home, so that a work-life balance is maintained
* Respect each other’s decision or suggestions
* Only start or join a venture that both the partners are equally passionate about
* Discuss all the possibilities and outcomes of working together before finally taking a decision
* Trust each other and don’t compete with each other.