skip to Main Content
How Divorce Affects Productivity In The Workplace

How Divorce Affects Productivity in the Workplace

Given the regularity of modern divorces it’s no surprise that divorce can have tremendously adverse effects on an employees workplace performance. With around 42% of marriages ending in divorce, it has become increasingly important for businesses to be able to maintain office morale and productivity during tumultuous times. In this article, we’ll be looking at how divorce impacts an employee’s performance and what you, as an employer, can do to help.

Effects of Divorce on Employees

It will come as no surprise that divorce is directly linked to stress. Stress can have a huge impact on your work and productivity. The upheaval of leaving a relationship, legal meetings and financial changes can all add up and take their toll on divorcees. In fact, between 2015 and 2016 it was recorded that around 11.7 million working days were lost to stress.

The stress from divorce comes from many factors including combining personal, financial and legal problems into one bundle. There are few people who can juggle all these concerns and maintain a constant work rate. As a result, its not uncommon for those going through a divorce to experience a mixed range of emotions. At the best of times a divorce can be problematic, but if the divorce proceedings involve child access arrangements or selling matrimonial property, the stress can be amplified greatly. Research indicates that divorce is dealt with similarly to grief as individuals experience a range of different emotions. It’s knowing how an individual deals with this stress that will set your organisation and HR department apart. The emotional stages of divorce may present themselves in your workplace. These stages can be defined loosely as:

  • Denial – Many will find it initially hard to reconcile the fact that they are no longer with a partner who was so prominent in their lives.
  • Shock – Upon realizing that the divorce is not going to go away, many can move between stages of depression and anger.
  • Roller-coaster – During the roller-coaster phase divorcees can find themselves sinking further into depression as the reality of the situation sets in.
  • Bargaining – A phase that attempts to return to a reduced form of denial, denial that the relationship isn’t over and the belief that the relationship can be saved by unrealistic compromises.
  • Letting go – Realizing that the relationship cannot be reconciled and considering the prospect of moving on from the relationship.
  • Acceptance – Accepting that the marriage is over and focusing on the future.

Common Issues Contributing to Poor Work Performance

Needless to say, separation and divorce is not only detrimental to one’s personal life but also to their professional life. Even the most resilient employees can become less productive in their day-to-day work. Its not uncommon to see relationships strained when co-workers find the emotions of recent divorcees to be difficult to handle. Here are some of the common issues that may arise in employees performance as a result of divorce:

  • Reduced time in the office;
  • New and unusual mistakes being made;
  • Frustration (can often be directed towards co-workers);
  • Lower output;
  • Unable to focus on work; and
  • Lower self confidence.

How Can Employers Help Improve Productivity?

Whilst leave for bereavements is much more commonly granted, many employers do not offer the same flexibility to those suffering from the fallout of a divorce. One survey revealed that only 10% of employees believed that their employer adequately supported them through a separation or divorce. Rather than continuing this trend, a good way to address the issue would be to initiate an HR policy to cover support and leave offered to those going through a divorce.

In some cases, organizations arrange legal support for their employees in an attempt to ease their financial concerns. Other solutions could be to offer more flexible working hours. Another option, is to offer counselling or therapy to approach the divorce from a healthy perspective. For smaller companies, with less personnel and more budget constraints, an attentive line manager can provide less formal support.

With the current climate of divorce, it’s important that employers take the lead on mitigating the impact of a difficult divorce by providing support. By opting to support their employees, companies can help to build them back up to being productive individuals. Companies can rest assured that the support they’ve given will have gone a long way to build the mutual trust and respect present in the employee employer relationship. After all, if employers are unwilling to invest in the stability and performance of their employees, the company performance will suffer as a result.

About the Author:
Holly Barry is a Digital PR Executive working in Hertfordshire. A Journalism graduate from Brunel University in West London, Holly has embarked on many adventures within the magazine industry. Her most recent endeavor was spent at Condé Nast’s Brides magazine and previous to that her time was spent at Cosmopolitan and the UK’s leading brand agency – Four Marketing.


Disclaimer: The content provided in the blog posts of Jones Divorce & Family Law is general information and should not be considered legal advice. Please contact a lawyer for legal advice tailored to your specific situation. All articles are current as of their original publication date.