Reflections on Being a Co-working Couple
Elizabeth Garrett Christensen
November 15, 2016
Over Labor Day weekend I married another End Point employee, David Christensen. I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on life as a co-working couple. In the days before everyone worked in a mad scramble to pay off their student loans, save for their kids’ college, and save for retirement, lots of couples shared in the responsibilities of owning a business or farm. Today for most families those days are long gone and each spouse goes off to a long day at the office to meet back at home in the evening.
David and I are really fortunate to work at End Point and work remotely from our home in Lawrence, Kansas. David is a veteran at End Point starting as an application developer a decade ago and now is a project manager and heads up many of End Point's larger sales, database, and VR projects. I am brand-new to End Point and serve as the Client Liaison doing billing, client support, sales, and project management.
|Our home office in Lawrence|
What I love
Being together all the time
Like any newlywed, I cannot get enough of this guy. He’s easy to talk to, fun to be around, and pretty much makes everything better. But enough of that sappiness…
Getting some real insight on personality issues or conflicts
Working with someone that knows you really well and who can see your perspective can be really valuable—especially if you are navigating conflict or a political/personal issue, or just generally need some advice. I have always found deep friendships at work to help me work through these issues and having a spouse around has been great for this.
Getting up-to-speed on company culture
Having another person, especially one who’s been at a company for a long time, can really help you understand how things work, how each person or manager thinks, what to do, and what not to do. Who doesn’t want that kind of leg up at a new job?
I always like to have a work buddy. Having a spouse next to you to proofread your work, make sure you aren’t doing something crazy, and just generally keep an eye on things is really handy. Plus we can help remind each other of priorities and calendar appointments.
|Near the End Point NYC Office|
Things that take work
I can be a real chatterbox and so can David. We have to be careful not to over-talk about work. You can quickly burn an hour or two re-hashing a meeting or a project. It takes work and setting boundaries to not overanalyze every work situation.
David and I realized that once we were working together, living together, and raising kids together, everything that people experience as separate parts of their lives had now run into one long day called life. We had virtually no separation between work, the house, or our relationship. We created artificial boundaries for work time and try really hard not to talk about work on our personal time unless it’s important and vice-versa.
When you know so much about a person’s workload and personal life, you can sometimes be too helpful. You have to remember to give your spouse the space to be the creative, awesome person you know and love; not micro-manage their day.
By far the biggest challenge for me are the social limitations that working from home with a spouse inevitably creates. I used to work for a company of 400, so co-working from home with only one other person is quite a change. I’m still looking to fill up my social needs in other ways. The upside here is that I’ve become really close with my neighbors.
Thinking about becoming a co-working couple?
I’m pretty new at this, so just a couple notes. Give me a few years … maybe I’ll have more!
Putting all your eggs in one basket
One thing that does take some planning and thought is putting all your financial eggs in one basket. Working for the same company is a little riskier than diversifying your paychecks. David and I felt like since we have both had marketable skills that would be useful anywhere, this wasn’t a deal-breaker for us.
Find a supportive company
Obviously, the biggest hurdle is finding a company that supports having co-working couples and is willing to work with you through it. End Point is a great place to work with a very family-friendly atmosphere which has made this part really easy on us.
Find unique job roles that you’ll enjoy
This is true for starting any new job at all, but if you are thinking of starting to co-work with your spouse, make sure this job is something you’ll be good at and will enjoy. There’s more than just your reputation at stake here.
And with that, I better see what David has been up to…