How to Maintain Work-Life Balance in a Family Business

Achieving Work-Life Harmony in a Family Business

Growing up in a family business and now owning a small business with your spouse can blur the lines between work and personal life. Instead of striving for the elusive perfect work-life balance, many families find success through work-life agreements. These agreements involve a mutual understanding that both partners are responsible for ensuring that all aspects of life are taken care of, even if it means working non-stop at times.

Experts emphasize the importance of recognizing the unique challenges that come with working in a family business. Catherine Wygant Fossett, executive director of the Institute for Family-Owned Business, highlights the complexities of navigating family dynamics and maintaining boundaries between work and personal life. By addressing these challenges proactively, individuals can create a supportive and productive work environment within their family business.

Members of the Institute for Family-Owned Business recommend several strategies for achieving harmony in a family business:

Set boundaries: Clearly define when business matters are to be discussed and when family issues should be addressed. Establish working hours, expectations, and responsibilities to avoid confusion.

Stay in your lane: Define roles within the business, provide proper training to employees, and trust them to fulfill their duties. Avoid the temptation to micromanage every aspect of the business.

Enjoy family time: While it is common for family members to spend a lot of time together at work, it is essential to carve out leisure time for family activities outside of the workplace.

Prioritize and delegate tasks: Categorize tasks based on urgency and importance, allowing each family member to balance work and personal commitments effectively. Delegate tasks based on individual strengths to promote collaboration and prevent burnout.

Seek outside support: Avoid the tunnel-vision that often plagues family businesses by remaining open to external resources such as coaches, consultants, mentors, and advisors.

Achieving work-life harmony in a family business requires clear communication, boundaries, mutual respect, and understanding. By defining roles, setting boundaries, and seeking external support, family members can successfully navigate the challenges of blending work and personal life.

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney, a business coach specializing in supporting small contracting businesses, serves as the next-gen affinity group advisor for the Institute for Family-Owned Business. For more information about the Institute, visit their website at You can contact Priscilla at