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.]