How to Navigate the Workplace with Related Colleagues

Use these helpful tips for staying productive and professional when working with relatives.

Does your company have colleagues who are related to each other? Are you one of them? Whether spouses, parents and children, or other family members, working alongside relatives is surprisingly common at many Madison-area companies. And we’re one of them! As an independent, locally-owned business with two generations of family on our staff, here are a few tips from our team on how to successfully navigate the workplace with related colleagues: Setting boundaries is one tip to navigate work with related colleagues.

  • Clearly define roles and set boundaries
  • Treat employees equally
  • Stay positive
  • Respect roles and responsibilities
  • Communicate regularly

Whether you’re working with your family or work alongside people who are, read more about each of these tips to navigate work with relatives below.

Clearly define roles and set boundaries

Wherever there is a lack of clarity and roles are not clearly defined, inevitably a dysfunctional workplace ensues. When expectations are clear, your business will live more in harmony and be more productive. Some of the most important advice we can offer another family-operated business is to develop clear boundaries about what is okay and what is not in the workplace. When family is merged with work, ensure favoritism and family politics don’t get in the way of a productive and enjoyable workday for everyone on your team. A good rule of thumb is to try and keep all personal family matters out of the workplace just as you aim to keep work matters out of your family time.

Treat employees equally

Another common concern when working with family is that there will be nepotism or unfair treatment, whether it’s positive or negative. To help all team members feel equally valued, strive to treat all employees the same, regardless of their relationship. Leaving familiarity at the door can help non-related coworkers feel more comfortable. It can also be useful for family members to be supervised or evaluated by non-relative employees to ensure objectivity when completing annual or seasonal reviews.

Stay positive

Positivity can help improve all aspects of the workplace, from employee satisfaction to customer retention and productivity. It’s also useful advice to keep in mind when navigating day-to-day interactions with your related coworkers. Establishing a positive workplace culture among both related and non-related team members that fosters caring, inspiring, respectful, and supportive principles can help your coworkers – and your business – thrive.

Respect roles and responsibilities

Respecting the roles and responsibilities of all coworkers is another essential tip for navigating work with related colleagues. Start by clearly outlining the duties for each position to help eliminate familial tensions from arising in the first place. Then, ensure your entire team – related or not – understands their role in the company and what is expected of them.

Communicate regularly

Should an issue arise between related colleagues, it’s best to address it right away. Regular and swift communication can help ensure that all parties feel heard and respected. Investing time and resources into strong communication skills can further assist with navigating familial situations at work.

These five tips can teach you how to navigate work with related colleagues. For more tips and tricks for the workplace, continue to our blog.

If you’re not yet an EZ Office Products customer, call to set up your business account at (608) 310-4300 today.