The Balancing Act: How Working Alongside Family Has Helped Business Thrive During the Pandemic
COVID has engulfed all aspects of our daily lives with a wave of uncertainty. For myself, running a real estate business in a pandemic alongside my family, we’ve had to work hard to adapt to the ever-changing landscape and rely on the strength of those family bonds to weather the storm. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, but by taking on each challenge as a team, we’ve been able to thrive during this pandemic.
As COVID hit, our agility enabled us to take immediate action. We started putting sanitation and prevention measures in place from the beginning, including testing staff at our own cost. We made the decision not to hide our head in the sand, and instead treat the pandemic as the new reality that it was. We worked together as a team trying to find new solutions and tactics, as the pandemic shifted us away from life as we knew it. We had the flexibility to change quickly to remote work and video meetings and build out virtual tours of our apartment complexes. That new, urgent need for digital solutions actually brought a tremendous amount of innovation to the firm and encouraged our increased adoption of new technology.
Through our quick response to the pandemic, we were able to turn the situation around to our benefit and have even expanded our portfolio during what’s been a challenging time for others. Many couldn’t make the necessary pivots, but our ability to do so has put us on a strong upward trajectory.
The decisions we made around the pandemic also stem from the fact that, as a family who works together, personal and professional life aren’t separate—they’re merged. In a lot of ways, it’s been very comforting since everyone in our family understands my work and has an even greater concern for each other’s wellbeing.
From the business side, not much is different compared to a non-family-run businesses; roughly speaking, the same strategies work. Just as you would with anyone else, you treat them with the respect that you would expect to receive. Everyone, regardless of relation, is valued based on their merits, first and foremost—they just happen to also be family.
It’s a given that this type of business is not for everyone and every family, but I think many would be surprised to find just how rewarding working with family is if they tried it. Knowing that you are surrounded by people who are always going to be honest with you and loyal to you is a level of camaraderie that is highly fulfilling and rare to find.
My key piece of advice for those considering whether or not to hire family is to focus purely on their professional merits. If they do not fit the company culture or weren’t somebody that you’d hire if you didn’t know them, then do not hire them. Period, no exceptions. Being a family member or a friend can be an invaluable bonus and can create powerful synergy, but if they lack the credentials necessary to do the job, it just doesn’t work.
With all that said, running a business alongside family members has been by and large a very positive experience for all of us at Rastegar Property Company. We’ve been fortunate enough that our family members who work in the business are highly professional and have made the experience run smoothly. Through normal times, but especially in the uncertain times we’re facing today, having family work in the business allows us to band together in a unique way that helps us succeed no matter the odds.
Ari Rastegar is the founder and CEO of Rastegar Property Company.