Divorce is the one of the most stressful things you can go through in your life, second only to the death of a loved one. It’s not surprising that it affects your work. When I was going through my divorce I couldn’t concentrate or function properly and my motivation was at an all-time low. I didn’t have the energy to give to work. It was as much as I could do to just get through the day.
Because I felt so ashamed, I didn’t want to tell anyone about my divorce. And telling people would make it real - which I didn’t want to accept. I felt a failure and thought that people would be judging me and wondering what was wrong with me. In reality that was what I was thinking about myself.
I told those I had to – my boss and direct reports and close friends who were all understanding. But none of them had been through a divorce though which made me feel more isolated. None of them truly understood what I was going through and I’m sure they didn’t really know what to say to me.
After a few months I decided that I couldn’t continue in my role as I didn’t have the emotional capacity to give to it. I decided to step down and take some time away from work as I needed some space to try and recover without the added pressure of work. This was a massive decision for me - I had a very senior role with a large team to manage and I’d worked REALLY hard to get to that position.
When I returned to work, I took a project-based role where I didn’t have a team to manage. I was still really tearful for a LONG time and I know I wasn’t operating anywhere near my capability. Although I still did well eventually in my new role, I know that stepping down from my previous role definitely affected my career. I felt I’d lost some of my credibility and visibility in the business which I had to try and build back up.
There’s no doubt your productivity plummets when you’re going through a breakup or divorce and the business is impacted hugely. There’s a direct correlation between relationship turmoil and workplace productivity.
According to one report, divorce lowers the productivity of the employee going through it by an estimated 40 percent, and one-year post-divorce, productivity is down an additional 20 percent, with the co-workers losing 2 percent and the manager losing 1 percent.
In the UK, the Centre for Social Justice estimated $56.99bn in annual costs to the government, due to family breakdowns.
Here are 9 tips for how cope with divorce or breakup at work:
These tips are still relevant even if you’re working from work at the moment and trying to remain productive and professional during your breakup.
Going through a breakup or divorce will inevitably have an impact on your work but there are things you can do to try and minimise the effect. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling like you’re underperforming at work. It’s a really stressful time so you need to give yourself a break. Be honest with your boss and colleagues. See if there’s anything you can do in the short term to relieve some of the pressure.
Remember this time will pass.
If you’re struggling at work due to your breakup, and would like some additional support, you can book a free 15-minute discovery call with me to see how I can help you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you.
Also, if you haven’t already done so you can download my free guide here: 10 Tips to help you get over your breakup: www.sarah-woodward.com/10Tips