Broadcaster Ray D’Arcy’s wife Jenny is also his producer —so what are the challenges they face? Arlene Harris talks to to three couples about working and living together.
RADIO broadcaster Ray D’Arcy and Jenny Kelly, his producer, met on his Today FM show and are now happily married parents of two young children.
They seem to have perfected the art of combining home and work life, which they are set continue in their new posts at 2FM.
But how do couples who work together keep their private life separate?
We asked three ‘24-7’ couples.
On the same wavelength
Dee Woods and Marty Miller (top image) work together on Dublin’s Radio Nova and, like Ray and Jenny, are live on air every morning.
Aside from being on the same ‘wavelength’ working on the same show (from 6am to 10am daily) together is an asset.
It definitely makes it easier to get out of bed at stupid o’clock when you’re not the only one doing so,” says Dee.
“Because we’re both up at the same time, we can encourage each other when the alarm goes off and we don’t want to move.
“Job-wise, we’re so used to each other’s ways and nuances, that we can read each other’s minds and the show flows much easier than if we were working with people we didn’t know as well.”
Marty agrees, but says this can also be a negative.
“Dee knows whether or not I’m in good form and knows all the right buttons to push,” he says.
“We can communicate with a look or roll of the eyes, and if I get worked up about something she knows how to steady things.
“But, because she really knows me, all the silly things one does in life tend to make it on air, because we tell everything to our listeners.”
Dee says while she enjoys working with her husband, it is vital for them both to have separate interests.
“Keeping work and home life separate can be tough, but we try to do things apart in our free time,” she says.
“As much fun as it is presenting Morning Glory with Marty, it’s not healthy to be together 24-7. So we have separate interests and friends — this is good for our sanity and also gives us more to talk about on the radio.”
Dylan and Charlotte Bradshaw run the Dylan Bradshaw Hairdressing Academy and Salon.
For the past six years, he has been the creative person and she has been the business manager.
“Charlotte is the best person to be looking after the management of our business,” says Dylan.
“She has my back and I have hers, and if I have an idea she will do everything to put it into practise, if it’s viable, but if it is not she will tell me straight-up.
“There is always one of us in the driving seat and it’s great to be fperable to split the workload within the roles we are each suited to,” he says.
Charlotte, who is a qualified accountant, agrees and says their contrasting personalities make for the ideal working relationship.
“We are polar opposites — I’m neat and organised and Dylan is not,” she says. “I am happy sitting at a desk, getting through the workload. Dylan embraces meeting people and being out and about working with clients, attending seminars and teaching at the DB Academy.
“He likes creating ideas, I like figuring out how to bring them to life and problem-solving.”
But the Wicklow couple (who have three children, aged eight, five and two) says it can be difficult switching from work to home mode.
“If we disagree about something at work, we sometimes bring it home and this crosses the boundaries of family life,” says Charlotte.
“We try not to talk about work at home, but, occasionally, it can’t be helped.”
Dylan says the key to successfully working with your spouse is to communicate and have time away from the office.
“It’s important to be very honest and iron out any issues as quickly as possible,” he says.
“We ensure to make time for each other and do fun stuff together, so it’s not all about work.”
Franc with each other
Wedding planner Franc (Peter Kelly) and his wife, Eadaoin, met while they were both training to be chefs at Cork Institute of Technology in 1986.
He started his career in catering, but in 1997 joined his wife in her Display Design business, before they started www.weddingsbyfranc.com in 2003.
Having worked with his wife for almost two decades, Peter says he can’t imagine it any other way.
“We’ve worked together for so long that we know exactly what one another want,” he says.
“There is nothing more satisfying than creating something amazing and unique with your partner. Having so much trust and confidence in her work is the best aspect of working with Eadaoin, and it has also allowed us to share more life experiences together,” Peter says.
While his wife and business partner agrees, she says there can also be pitfalls.
“By working with Peter, I know he won’t let me down when I am in under pressure,” she says.
“We share a common goal and have respect for one another’s work. But, sometimes, it can be difficult to juggle work and family life.
“Working together means we have all our eggs in the one basket and, of course, if one of us is sick we are down a man, so there is no room for excuses.”
Though work takes up much of their day, the couple (who have four children, aged 15, 14, 12 and nine) allocate time for family life.
“We make a conscious effort not to talk about work at home,” says Peter.
“We work very hard at giving our children a family life — doing things together like cooking, cycling, painting, foraging, orienteering, or even just cleaning the house together.
“We also make a huge effort to eat with our kids as, to us, conversation with our children around the table is hallowed ground.”
Eadaoin says for a couple to make their business work they must communicate.
“It is important to make, and decide, your goals upfront,” Eadaoin says.
“But we also need to have rules for switching-off and work on our relationship.”
MAINTAIN THE WORK/HOME BOUNDARIES
Mark Fielding, CEO of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association says it’s vital that couples who work together establish boundaries.
“I work a lot with family businesses and am always pointing out the need to lay down the rules from the start,” he says. “Although partners may have a 50-50 stake in the business, someone must have the responsibility of the casting vote and this has to be decided from the start; even if it is taken in turns from year to year.
“Most people will always get by, but it is important to divorce home life from the office and have a clear agreement about who has final responsibility for the business.”
Organisational psychologist John Deely says couples should have a clear definition of their working roles to avoid confusion and potential arguments. He offers three tips for anyone about to embark on a professional relationship with their spouse:
It is important to have separate offices or work areas. This allows you to focus on your own job without being distracted by the other person.
Establish your own schedule. Develop protocols or boundaries for home and office about dealing with business and personal issues.
Do not allow work to dominate personal time, it is unhealthy. It can also be damaging to allow personal issues encroach on work.
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