Romance is good for business.
Just consider the benefits which love has across a diverse range of economic sectors ‐ the arts and creative industries, hospitality, floristry, travel and property to name but a few.
However, there is a definite and unavoidable flipside to that rosy picture.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 42 per cent of marriages end in divorce.
As those who have either experienced divorce or assisted those going through it will know, though, it is much more than a simple statistic.
Obtaining the paperwork of divorce ‐ the decrees nisi and absolute ‐ currently takes almost a year on average.
The much more involved task of disentangling spouses’ finances and determining arrangements for the well‐being of any children can, unfortunately, take much longer
Dealing with that administration on top of the natural upset which often follows the collapse of what might have been a lengthy relationship can create the sort of stresses which manifest themselves at home and at work.
That means those involved being distracted or demotivated. There might be resentment among colleagues asked to assume some of the workload of those having to attend court hearings, meetings with lawyers or feeling out of sorts because of the toll which a divorce can exact on even the hardiest of individuals.
Employees can rethink their professional priorities at the same time that their personal predicament is undergoing a radical change.
In some divorces, the amount of time which a person spends at work might be viewed in a negative light as it means not being at home.
That can lead relatively senior men and women to choose less prominent roles in order to make a bigger contribution to their children’s upbringing.
The pressures of divorce can prompt people to behave differently. They might seem rash or more argumentative than normal.
There can be even greater consequences for a business if those going through divorce are the individuals who run it. If very detailed thought is not given to how to mitigate its effects, companies might be hit by a lack of direction. Profitability could also suffer.
Regardless of the position which someone going through a divorce may have, there are ways to limit the possibilty of it upsetting the workplace balance.
It doesn’t necessarily require a great deal of precious resources ‐ time, personnel or money. Common sense and consideration can have a marked positive impact.
Simply ensuring that the individual is able call on the services and insight of experts ‐ financial, emotional and psychological ‐ can make a difference.
Such a policy demonstrates a company’s commitment to that member of staff during a period which may be stressful.
In addition, business owners should discuss with the employee whether they would benefit from key colleagues helping out with or even handling some of their work in its entirety until a divorce is concluded
A fundamental recommendation is for honesty and clarity from employer and employee alike.
That doesn’t necessarily mean those divorcing having to discuss the proceedings in full detail.
Instead, it is more a case of explaining the potential for it to affect someone’s ability to work. Managing expectations is an essential part of business when times for the company or the people within it are good or not.
Divorce can be a difficult process but, no matter how long it takes, it isn’t indefinite.
By putting in place the kind of measures which make the workplace a place of support rather than a further source of anxiety can deliver enormous benefits all‐’round.