I think it’s fair to say that divorce is a costly, time-consuming and emotionally draining experience. Although Separation is a personal matter, it is also a very emotionally charged one. It is not possible for people to turn off the fear and insecurities that they have about their future when they enter the workplace each day.
Employees getting divorced face a seemingly endless stream of legal, financial, housing and child care decisions. This process is seen in the workplace as:
- Absenteeism as employees need time off for lawyer appointments and court dates.
- Decreased productivity and distracted employees cause potentially costly mistakes.
- Employees will look for support, validation and advice from colleagues. Decreasing the productivity of those around them.
- Overtime and/or travel may no longer be an option for single parents.
- Personal stress can cause inter-personal conflicts at work.
- Impact on health such as anxiety and depression can take subject matter experts out of the workplace for extended periods of time.
Studies have shown that employees lose more than 160 hours of work time in the year following a divorce.
It is crucial for employers to acknowledge the relationship between the emotional and financial stress of divorce and lost productivity. The need to educate and support employees during stressful times should not be considered a luxury, but should be seen as a must have.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) most often deal with divorce from a mental health perspective. The most common concerns however are the practical ones around parenting and finances. Support for these can be a meaningful addition to EAP services.
Findings of the Life Innovations Study “Marriage and Family Wellness: Corporate America’s Business?” concluded that relationship-related stress costs employers about $300 billion annually.
Can you afford not to support your employees through these times?