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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sustainability

How a Caring Employer Can Help Employees Go Through Divorce

Going through a divorce is not a pleasant thing, especially if the divorce is not amicable. It throws your whole life off-balance, messes with your emotions and affects every relationship you have, including your work relationships and your work in general.

Imagine having to concentrate and work in such a state? You wouldn’t be able to be productive and it would negatively affect your job. However, there are things that you, as an employer, can do to help your employees cope with this difficult time in their lives.

How to recognize the problem?

You will for sure notice if a normally productive and hardworking employee starts behaving in an odd way. Such behaviors include:

  • Showing up late for work, or leaving way too early
  • Constantly being in a sour mood, anxious and irritable
  • Complaining of constant exhaustion
  • Unusual behavior – overeating, or not eating enough
  • Increase in alcohol use
  • Poor work performance

These are merely some of the signs that something is seriously wrong with your employee, and while it doesn’t necessarily have to be a divorce, in most cases it usually is. According to statistics, in the period of four decades, the number of divorces around the world has more than doubled.

How to help your employees deal with a divorce

Know and understand your employees

In order to notice all the above-mentioned signs, you need to know your employees. Each and every one of your employees should be valuable to you and you should take time to get to know them.

Having a good relationship with your employees will make it easier for them to share their problems with you. Once you know their problems, you can offer your support in many different ways.

One such way is encouraging them to visit a trustworthy family law office, or maybe ask them to consider stress management programs that will help them better deal with what they are going through. If the money is a problem, you can offer to pay them a meeting with a lawyer.

Advise them to take care of themselves and to seek professional help if you notice that things are looking pretty bad.

There are a number of things that you can do as an employer to help your employees deal with the stress they are going through.

Be flexible, but don’t forget your business responsibilities

Similarly, you as an employer can offer your support by being flexible. This means that you should allow the employee who is going through a divorce to work flexible hours, to have more breaks than usual. Also, you can allow your employees to have some days off or to work from home.

This way you are helping them get back to their normal selves. However, don’t forget that you still have responsibilities. Yes, you can show understanding and support, but still, remind them that a job needs to be done.

Create a supportive environment

Toxic work environment won’t help anyone, not you nor the person going through a rough time. This is why you should encourage a healthy and supportive environment in your firm, and this is something that starts from you.

If you show support and understanding as an employer, your employees will follow your example. Judging and gossiping are toxic and should be forbidden in the workplace.

The environment where asking for help and understanding is normal will eventually prove to be very useful. Your business won’t suffer because your employees will be able to ask for help before things escalate and get messy.

Be patient

There are employees that will have a hard time opening up even after you’ve shown support and understanding. The feeling of shame and guilt in these kinds of situation are what prevent people from opening up or allowing someone to help them.

In this particular situation, don’t force them to accept any sort of help. It will take time for them to accept your help, but for this to happen just be there and support them all the way.

What not to do when an employee is going through a divorce

There are also things you shouldn’t do when your employee is going through a divorce.

Don’t placate them with pep talks

At the end of the day, you are their employer and it’s not your job to offer placating words or pep talks. Besides, the last thing people going through the divorce want is someone telling them that with time everything will be better, or that this is for the better.

Know your place, be understanding and supportive without giving too much unnecessary advice.

Don’t tell them that their private life is affecting their performance at work

Yes, sure, this is the truth. However, be nice about it, don’t just tell them to pull themselves together because their work is suffering. Have understanding. Imagine someone telling you that in addition to your private life is in shambles, your work is going downhill too.

It’s not something you’d want to hear. There are other more gentle ways in which you can remind your employees that they should concentrate more on their work.


As you can see, having a little bit of compassion and understanding goes a long way. There is nothing radical that you should do to help an employee in need. Support, understanding and time are what everyone going through a divorce needs.

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