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10 Tips on Supporting Your Employees Through a Divorce

Posted: March 1, 2021 at 6:21 pm / by / comments (0)

UK divorce statistics show that marriages end in divorce 42 percent of the time. This means that most people will go through a divorce at some point in their lives.

With the financial worries, custody battles, and other issues people going through divorce face, the last thing they need is extra stress from their job. So, as an employer, you need to know how to help your employees get through it when it happens.

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In this post, we’re going to help you with that by sharing our top 10 tips for supporting your employees through a divorce.

10 Ways to Help Your Employees Through a Divorce

Helping your employees through a divorce benefits both parties. This way, they will have less stress playing on them and you can have your employee back to full capacity sooner. With that in mind, here are our top tips for helping your employees through this difficult time:

1. Talk to them about it

The simplest and often most effective way to help an employee through their divorce is to speak to them about it. You might feel like you’re prying into their life, but they’ll likely appreciate the opportunity to explain why they’re struggling at work.

You should make it clear that everything they tell you is confidential, and that they don’t need to share anything they’re uncomfortable with. Also, let them know about the support options available to them and reassure them that you’re always there to talk if they need to.

2. Check in regularly

Speaking to your employee about their divorce is one thing, but regular check-ups can make it easier to monitor their health and wellbeing. This can be as simple as sending an email or simply asking ‘How’re you doing?’ once in a while.

At the very least, this will reassure the employee that you’re thinking about them and that if they are struggling, making mistakes, or their productivity is dropping you know they have a genuine reason.

3. Spot unhealthy work patterns

All employees will feel some level of stress when going through a divorce, but they often have different ways of showing it. It’s easy to spot employees who are visibly stressed, but some of them cover it up well and keep their head down.

If you spot the following signs in your employees, they could be secretly stressed:

  • Working exceptionally long hours
  • Taking work home with them
  • Not taking their lunch breaks
  • Avoiding communication with other employees

Learn to spot these signs and speak to any employees exhibiting them to find out what’s going on.

4. Consider their workload

If you spot that your employee is struggling to meet their workload because of their divorce, it might be a good idea to take some of their work off them and see if there are any other employees who can pick it up.

Find out how long the employee thinks they’ll struggle with their workload; this could remain open-ended if they’re not sure. Then, reward the employee who’s stepped in to help out.

5. Offer flexible working arrangements

Your employee going through a divorce might need a lot of time off to deal with their situation, in which case you can offer them a flexible working arrangement. They could work from home on some days, or you could offer flexitime to fit around any legal appointments they may have.

Having a more fluid and open work pattern could really reduce the stress your employee feels. As it’s an agreed change, they’ll feel less like they’re letting you down and be more appreciative of their job.

6. Consider short-term leave options

Sometimes, divorces are too devastating and too complicated to fit around your employee’s job. They can even be left emotionally and physically unable to work if the situation is that bad. For these employees you should:

  • Offer short-term sick leave
  • Reassure them that it will not affect their employment
  • Put a return-to-work plan in place

Most employees will get through this difficult period in a short space of time and be back working for you before you know it. The employee will also be thankful that you gave them the time to get over the worst of the divorce and will work hard when they return.

7. Encourage mediation

Most drawn-out divorce cases end up in a lose-lose situation for both parties, and they become nothing more than a mud-slinging competition. Mediation is a much healthier option, and your employee will be all the better for it.

However, only 1 percent of separating couples go through mediation. So, making sure your employee knows it’s an option that might save them a lot of stress, money and time is important if you want them to get through it.

8. Treat each employee as an individual

One of the reasons it’s important to speak to your employees when they’re going through a divorce is so you can assess their individual situation. Some employees need time off during a divorce and others need to be productive to distract themselves from it.

Make sure to find out what your employees need so you can tailor whatever plan you choose to their individual situation.

9. Create a family breakdown policy

Before you get to the stage of speaking to your employees, assessing their individual situation and tailoring a plan to them, there should be a family breakdown policy in place.

This policy should set out the support available to your staff members and the route they can take to raise issues about their divorce. The more your employees know about the family breakdown plan ahead of time, the quicker they’ll be able to raise their divorce issues if it happens to them.

10. Have an annual family breakdown presentation

To really make sure your employees know what they can do if they’re ever struggling with divorce, you could have annual presentations. These could include the various wellness initiatives your company provides and other external sources of support.

Ready to Support Your Employees Through a Divorce?

In this post, we’ve shared our top 10 tips on supporting your employees through a difficult divorce.

There are lots of ways you can support employees, but the main thing to remember is to be flexible and provide them with whatever they need to help them through this difficult period in their lives. It’ll not only help them to feel needed and respected, it’ll work out well for you in the long-run too.

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