Q: “I have to work with two people who are married. For the most part they get along alright, but sometimes they draw us into their personal lives, and we just want to do our jobs. How can I tell them to leave that stuff at home?”

A. Working with coworkers that are married to each other can be great if they get along well, but it can be miserable if they don’t. Here are a few ground rules for married coworkers. These really need to be obeyed, and you can always present the issue further up the management chain if they don’t follow suit.

1. Don’t talk about family issues or plans in the presence of other employees.

2. When you’re at the business, treat each other as employees rather than spouses.

3. Avoid any physical contact at work, even if you don’t think anyone is looking.

4.   Don’t use pet names when referring to each other — not even basic ones like “dear” and “honey.”

5. Do not bring up recent arguments or spousal spats. Do not try to pull coworkers into the discussion and get them on your side if you are having a disagreement with your spouse. Leave all spats and personal conflicts at home.

6. When married employees have problems at work, the problems tend to escalate rapidly and involve several employees.  Involve your manager immediately if there are issues with coworkers, such as inappropriate behaviors, rude comments or gossip.

Additionally, let your coworkers know when they are bringing their personal issues to work.  They may not realize they’re doing it or that you are uncomfortable with it. Having a frank conversation with them to let them know what kind of affect this is having on the rest of you may be just the wake-up call they need.

If you have questions for Dear Boss, send them to:

Don Tyler, P.O. Box 67, Stockwell, IN47983or e-mail to don@dontyler.com.

Your letter will remain confidential, and may or may not get an individual reply.