14 July 2011

A couple & An Office

Is it okay for couples to work together in the same office? I wouldn’t. I’m not comfortable with the idea. Lovers in the same office … ohhh yaaa!! Wink! Wink! Married couples...oh NOO!!

In fact, within a month of marrying Sathya, a colleague, I left the job & joined elsewhere. (He, on the contrary, left soon after, saying he was used to seeing & having me around & just couldn’t go back to the office now since I wasn’t there).

If they’re in different departments, like we were, the situation is still ok. At least, they’re not constantly bumping into each other or clashing over roles & responsibilities. The demarcations are clear, there are lesser chances of an over-lap & hence relatively easier to “do your own thing”. But God bless the couple in the same department with similar profiles…ooo!

Appraisals, tiffs with seniors, all these are sore points. If one of them is appreciated & gets a hike/promotion & the other is neglected professionally, it’ll affect their personal equation back home too. And god forbid if it happens to be the woman who is being applauded at work & the man degraded. An ‘Abhimaan’ like scenario wouldn’t be too far-fetched. The sulking partner, quite understandably, won’t be able to get over his failure & not be able to rejoice in the spouse’s success. The successful partner, if it’s the wife, would feel guilty for her success & would be torn between celebration & sorrow.

Plus the social interaction gets limited for both. If either one of them is the suspicious, overly jealous kind, then it’s the end of all ‘harmless recreations’ (read: flirting) for the other partner.

Also, any emergencies at home would affect both of them equally which would mean absence of two employees at a time.

The worst part is when support each other primarily because they’re married & not because of the virtue of the idea in question. That by itself limits healthy discussion of issues & thereby the solution we as a group might chance upon. There is bound to be too much subjectivity in every situation.

I’ve witnessed a similar case in one of my previous work places. Every time we needed a poll, the husband-wife duo would be one tough nut to crack. They’d have ‘one’ opinion & in situations of majority v/s minority, they usually won hands down. Of course, the decisions wouldn’t be based on this; but the time it took to make the TWO of them come around to our point-of-view was, I always felt, such a huge waste of precious time & effort.

I completely understand & empathize with HR personnel on their reservations on this matter & why they’re usually wary of situations like this. The issues that crop are always too hot to handle; Ego, Timing, Objectivity, Comfort, Team Dynamics. In my case, however, it was the most important issue: ‘the too much of a good thing’ issue.

[P.S: Family businesses are a different ball-game & do not come under the purview of this post.]


  1. Valid points Sujatha! There are many who wouldn't like to work together at all and there are many too, who simply love working together!
    In many companies, the couple is placed in different departments, in case they were earlier (before marriage) in the same department! Makes sense too!

  2. you know what I found most cute in this post?!

    YOur hubby saying he was used to see you there and felt uncmfrtble after you quit..this is sweet really...and yes you are right about the "abhiman" scenario ..no matter how well-educated and well-behaved men pose to be..there are certain things that they cant compromise over..and male-ego being suppressed by their colleague wife's promotion ...this does effect things on domestic level,,admit it or not!!

    so yes its best to avoid working in the same department if nt in same office!

    nice read :-)
    n btw I love the way you have named your blog.its such a romantic gesture!

  3. Definitely second Mishi about your husband. Seriously he' seems to such a sweet person. A luck lady-are you? Definitely yes I think

  4. Ha ha ha:) This is such a sweet post describing the life of a couple(all kinds) in the same work environment. Nice one Sujatha..

  5. @ Shilpa: thanx. yes u r right, some abso love working together! surprises me

    @ Mishi: u've watched Abhimaan? hmm!! NICE.
    "no matter how well-educated" - d key words :)

    @ Vijay: excuse me Sir! pls kindly stick 2 d topic n not digress into praising my husband!
    hehhe...jus kidding :)

  6. Completely agree Sujatha. It actually would be a better idea to have a husband and wife in different departments. All the reasons you pointed out are valid. Other factors like ego etc. come into play, and personal lives can get affected.

  7. Agreed Agreed.
    I loved this part.. "Lovers in the same office … ohhh yaaa!! Wink! Wink! Married couples...oh NOO!! " I don't know why.. I imagined you winking :D ;) :D

    Good analysis on the cons part. You could have pointed out some pro points as well.

    To see the same face all the time will also be difficult :P

  8. @ Spicy Sahana: hahha i luk real bad winking!! m not a pro!!
    in fact i tried to insert a winking smiley der but found it too big so left it.

    ya shud've put up some pros also. hmm...lemme think....how abt "pick up & drop facility"?? dats d only thing coming to my mind :((

    hmmmmmmmmm.....thinkning some more

  9. @Sujatha Sathya See how mean you're. Wait lemme call your husband, let him know what a lady you're! LOL just kidding! :P

  10. A good discussion topic..!! nice post.


  11. I have heard of similar experiences from some of my friends .Well its not a typical office but clinic ,me and my husband are working together for the last seventeen years ( except for a four year gap in between because of kids).
    Its very romantic what your husband said :)
    Girl,you are on my side bar .Have a wonderful Sunday.

  12. @ Raghu: thanx

    @ Kavita: 17 years!! - working together :)...ya a clinic is a different kind of space

  13. Interesting opinion.

    But times are definitely changing.

    My friends have also told me about organisations which are OK with couples working in the same organisation, as long as one of them does not report into the other.

    But yes, as you said, it does require a lot of balancing in both aspects for the couple - in the personal and professional lives.

  14. @ Vyankatesh: welcome to my blog! n thanx 4 ur comments

  15. interesting topic by you this one....
    i have seen few couples working at my place together and somehow they could not manage to continue further at the same place, and the reasons are same as you mentioned in this post....i think it was a wise decision by you to change ur work place and then ur hubby..what to say ???again you will say i am unnecessarily praising him.....but yes he deserve all that...nice guy...:))

    best wishes,

  16. @ Irfanuddin: Nahiiiii!! yahan sirf meri tarif ki jayegi..mere patidev ki nahin!!
    hehhe...jus kidding

    thanx for your observations. hope ur ex-colleagues are doing well..alag alag office mein :)

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  18. @ ITB: oh wow thanks!!
    of course not, i dont mind it @ all.
    its an honor!!

  19. interesting post
    this depends on lovers and rules change with each couple

  20. I thing its a bit no no for me for couples to work at the same place.. in same office .. I dont think its healthy ..

    you have put some very good points Totally agree ot them all ..


  21. @Bikram: thanks. experience bolta hai - my own :)

  22. well you leaving the job first was ok and then your husband left the job ....lol hope you guys got placed at a much better place.

    one of the good things that can happen if you both are in the same department is you can bitch about the same boss and in return he wont approve your leaves together and your vacation plans get canceled lol

  23. @BHavna: haha after reading ur "good things" i immedialtely remembered ur profile. u r an HR!! no wonder :)

  24. yea I had/have many points in my mind...but thought if I discussed it here it would turn out to be a HR Forum

  25. I really like this blog post, it has some great info. Thank you and keep up good work

  26. @Somsi: thank you Somsi! glad you liked d post.

  27. I fully agree with you. You have put down the points quite good! :-) Me neither.

  28. @Gowtham: thank u. happy u agree with d reasons for not working together

  29. First time here, but I enjoyed reading your blog. This topic is widely contested. While many couples are fine with the arrangement of working together in the same office, I don't see it working for me for some reasons you've already stated in your post. In case of emergencies, both would be tied down by the same rules. Appraisals is not something I'd worry about though.

  30. @Swapna: glad you enjoyed being here. c u more often. yes...some couples seem ok with the arangement

  31. Wow...It's interesting!

    Hehe...come up with more such topics..

    And Tanvi after growing up will read and smile!

  32. @Gowthami: hmm ya i wonder if Tan will grow up read this & say , "mummy's mindless conversations!!" hahah

  33. B & I used to be in the same company prior to marriage. I left, but not due to marriage, and soon after B too left. And both of us joined different firms. Funny, but I think I could stay put there only for a very short stint, and we hooked up during that time!

  34. @Aathira: some hook-ups r super fast :) like mine was too :)

  35. Very true. Sensible points.I like the way you said, Married couples, No No, Lovers..Wink wink.
    Nice :)

  36. @Ashwini: thank u :)
    sensible coz speaking from experience
    and the wink wink -- hehehe that too from experience :)

  37. hmmm! That may be true. I haven't been in such situations yet but I can say the Abhimaan movie scenario is very much possible at work place if the wife earns more or if she is in a higher position than the husband.

  38. Lovely post...I myself don't comfortable with the idea of working togather in the same office...If this happens in future I would be the saddest person in life..

  39. I can't imagine working in the same office as my spouse. I see him at home all day, imagine doing so all day at office too! Let us have some space! But we work in the same company! Things are hence not so bad :)

    1. heheh not same office but same company - interesting :)