San Diego, Calif., August 10, 2017 – Divorce takes an emotional, physical, and financial toll. Conflict can often boil over from the home into the workplace.

August is the peak month for divorce filings according to recent research at the University of Washington. In the fall months, you may find your business affected by the personal trauma of a valued employee facing divorce.

The cost can go well beyond absenteeism for a few days here and there to attend meetings with an attorney or court appearances.

Additional, less obvious costs include:

  • The employee who is physically present at work, but unable to focus, resulting in reduced productivity or even mistakes
  • Employees wasting work time talking about a co-worker’s divorce
  • An employee missing work or leaving early due to stress-related issues
  • Child care problems due to shifting family relationships

Since 70 percent of divorces in California take place without an attorney’s help, your employee may be overwhelmed with even the simplest details of the legal process. It can be challenging trying to accommodate them.

In extreme cases, a depressed, distracted employee with impaired judgment can lead to mishaps, mistakes, and accidents – even workplace violence.

Imagine a formerly dedicated, productive employee suddenly falling apart. Even the most patient employer is ill equipped to provide the safety or emotional support the employee really needs. In a worst-case scenario, this can cost the employer a valuable contributor. It can cost the employee their career at the worst possible time.

As an employer, consider these options to help your valued employees navigate the difficult process of divorce:

  • Understanding the emotional and financial trauma is the first step in assisting a individual through the divorce transition. Having the skills to acknowledge the hardship and refocus the employee so they are fully present during work hours requires training and education.
  • Many employers recognize the benefits of offering needed support for employees experiencing trauma through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAPs often include referrals to mental health professionals and divorce lawyers. Does your EAP provider have knowledge about various divorce options?
  • Groups like the nonprofit Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego offer out-of-court options for navigating a divorce. Often, an employee can meet with professionals outside of work hours including evenings and weekends. Many Collaborative Divorces are resolved within 12 months, and can cost far less than a comparable litigated courtroom case.
  • Divorce Options Workshops: These workshops are held the first Saturday of the month in San Diego. A family law attorney, divorce financial professional and a divorce coach present information about the divorce process, and answer questions. Taking the mystery out of the divorce process reduces the anxiety and stress of an impending divorce.

We all experience personal conflict in our lives. How it is addressed in the workplace can mean the difference between a productive employee and happy customers or a company in constant turmoil. Companies that support their employees during personal challenges like divorce will reap the benefits in terms of their bottom-line and their reputation.