What You Must Know Before Hiring Friends and Family

As you may already have found out the hard way, hiring friends and family is not always a good move for you – either for you personally or for your business. Before you commit to it, you should consider some very important aspects of working with family and friends.

Strong Personal Relationships Don’t Guarantee Compatible Working Relationships
Just because you get along well in your personal life does not mean that you will get along equally as well with friends and family once you work with them. Often the additional time spent together becomes a strain, even for married couples who have been together for years. There is something to be said for time apart and individual interests.

It can be very difficult for your sibling, parent, relative, friend, or spouse to respect you as a boss, and even difficult for you to feel comfortable “bossing” them, regardless of how wonderful an employer you may be.

Choosing the Right Person for the Job
And, really, how well suited or qualified your friend or family member is for the position he or she will hold? Being a nice person or a deserving person does not make someone qualified for a job – only experience and expertise can do that. And putting an under-qualified person in a position could be detrimental to your company; it could be a liability, too.

Preventing and Managing Disagreements and Difficulties
Managing disagreements starts with prevention.

If you decide to employ family and friends you will need to define roles and responsibilities as well as the structure and hierarchy of the business from the very beginning. Have clear policies and expectations, and hold each person accountable as you would any other employee.  Seperate business from personal and make that a priority from the onset.

At its best, working with family and friends can be a very rewarding experience. At its worst it can be detrimental to business and personal relationships.

Should hourly employees get paid for checking email at home?

Those smartphones and BlackBerrys that enable work anytime, anywhere are increasingly blurring the lines between work life and personal life — and introducing the sticky issue of when overtime is owed to workers.

The always-connected worker and the pressures of the uncertain economy have led many to feel they should always be working — because they can, thanks to the growing use of smartphones. That’s allowing work to bleed into evenings, weekends and even sleep, with some people taking their phones and BlackBerrys to bed with them.

And the situation becomes tricky for hourly employees, who qualify for overtime.

“We’ve gotten into a place in our culture where the more you work, the better it is, and the more you should be proud of it,” said attorney Amanda Farahany. “And so people don’t want to assert their overtime right.”

Overtime laws are abused by companies “on a daily basis,” she said.

But in some cases, that has led to lawsuits, seeking pay for what is sometimes called “BlackBerry overtime” or “electronic overtime.”

For employers, “that’s an area of exposure and it’s coming like a freight train,” said Atlanta based attorney David Long-Daniels. By giving hourly employees BlackBerrys or access through iConnect or Citrix, “you’ve implicitly told them to work,” he said.

Long-Daniels advises companies not to allow hourly employees and others who qualify for overtime to use BlackBerrys or remote access to their work computers, unless they’re told to record time when using the devices and the company has a system in place to record the hours.

Written by

Kelly Yamanouchi

Atlanta Journal-Constitution