How Divorce Affects Employee Productivity–And What Business Leaders Can Do To Help

Whether people are going through a difference or breaking off a long term relationship, the process can be quite emotional. Going through the process can be confusing, fearful, and ambiguous. They often describe the feeling as if someone pulled a rug out from under their feet, causing a lot of stressful emotions. One the job, these kinds of stresses can be serious.

How Divorce Affects Employee Productivity--And What Business Leaders Can Do To Help

The Numbers Are In

Statistics tell us that over half of the marriages in this country are broken with divorce. If these people remarry, they have more than 60% of a chance of getting divorced again. Unfortunately, there are ones who get put in the middle of the chaos, like the children. If divorce is inevitable, we can still encourage co-workers on their way to a brighter future.

How the Company Is Affected

A divorce is a catastrophic event for someone’s life, often only second to losing a close family member. Because people in this situation feel helpless and overwhelmed, it is easy to see how they would have lower productivity at work. Companies can lose money by a drop in a worker’s productivity. Workers in the divorce process often need to take time off for legal matters and other time-consuming aspects. The administration also uses value time by dealing with the employee’s complicated issues. The problem is compounded when the person facing divorce is a key employee or executive.

Fortunately, there are some ways that managers can help their employees who are going through a divorce.

Show You Care

Do show empathy, compassion, and support to the employee. However, realize that you are not going to be able to solve the problem. Resist giving advice, especially in legal matters.

Pay Attention to the Employee

People have more confidence when they can talk to a supervisor who is listening to them. At this moment, this employee is the most important person. Paperwork, your computer, and your telephone can wait. Do not make generalized “I know how you feel” statements. Also, avoid sharing other people’s divorce horror stories. This employee just wants you to listen—not fix the problem.

Get Employees the Help They Need

Most companies have employee assistance programs that can provide counseling and other services as part of their benefits package. Be sure to check in with them periodically to see how things are going. Managers should also be conscious of divorcing employees’ time needs–those with children will probably need time off to handle all the family law work involved in the divorce process. Be understanding and allow the employee the time and patience needed to redefine their work-life balance in their changing stage of life.

It is not easy to go through a divorce. It is important that managers reach out to their employees who are in the process and get them the resources they need. Employees will have an easier time of it when they have the right support from their supervisors and coworkers.

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