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How personal problems affect workplace productivity

Divorce can cause real and serious mental health problems. According to an article on, up to half of adults going through a divorce have mental health issues that are severe enough to be diagnosed as clinical depression. This is not only caused by the pain of relationship breakdown, but financial pressures, worries about arrangements for children and in some cases, the stress of drawn-out court proceedings.

It’s unimaginable for all of this not to have a detrimental effect on a person’s performance, productivity and concentration at work.

The Nashville Business Journal carried out a study on the impact of divorce on workplace productivity. Researchers found that productivity was reduced by as much as 40% during divorce, and in the 6 months leading up to the decision to start proceedings. It took around 7 years for productivity levels to rise back up to normal levels.

And one unhappy and stressed employee can influence their co-workers productivity too. The study also found that before and during the person’s divorce, there was an average drop in productivity of 4% across the entire team.

This is why divorce is, or should be, an issue for employers. But in many workplaces, there is a deeply rooted view that personal problems should be left at home – even while at the same time work is creeping evermore into our home lives.  

Furthermore, employers have a duty of care to their staff. If someone is struggling, procedures to offer support and perhaps flexibility of working should be in place to help them cope, just like with bereavement and other personal issues.

How employers can find the right balance

Samantha Woodham, writing in, explains that employers have to navigate a fine line when offering relationship breakdown support to their staff.

On the one hand, bosses don’t want to become caught up in an adversarial or messy divorce process or offer the wrong advice, however well-meant. In the case where both spouses work in the same company, the employer could even end up accused of unfairly supporting one person and not the other.

But employers clearly need to take some form of action to ensure that all employees have the right support at work. Woodham suggests three key starting points:

1.    Implementing a family breakdown policy that signposts external sources of information and support.
2.    Including relationship breakdown into existing company wellbeing programmes, to provide practical help with managing stress, co-parenting and self-care.
3.    Making it easier for divorcing employees to access mediation and legal services through workplace and employee benefits schemes.

If you’re facing divorce and need someone in your corner, get in touch with Liverpool divorce lawyer Tracey Miller Family Law. We can offer expert advice, jargon-free information and all the support you need for as stress-free a divorce as possible.