Are you bringing your divorce to work?
Divorce is a life altering event. It brings waves of overwhelming emotions like fear, anger and loneliness.
Despite this emotional roller-coaster, life goes on, and that includes your job.
It’s easy to tell yourself you’re going to “keep it professional” at work, but maintaining that attitude is a lot more difficult in practice.
The effect divorce has on workplace productivity is well-documented throughout the world. Recent research shows that divorce costs the Australian economy over 14 Billion per year. Further research from the USA finds that:
• The average cost of divorcing employees to an organisation is $83,171 per year.
• It can take up to five years for employee productivity to rebound after a divorce.
• Child custody disputes often create significant cost for employers, which include an increase in absenteeism, time off for court dates, and shortened work hours.
As challenging as it is, it is crucial for you to maintain your job performance throughout your divorce.
Here are 6 tips for surviving the work day and staying focussed on your work while going through a divorce:
1. Notify your boss
You might prefer to keep your personal life private, and you should probably avoid telling everyone in the office the details of your break-up, but it’s wise to let your supervisor know what you’re going through.
You only have to give basic info, but let him or her know you’re dealing with some personal challenges and might have some occasional time constraints or schedule conflicts during this process. Find out if there is any leeway with your schedule that could help you.
2. Limit Divorce Related Communication at Work
Unless there is an emergency involving your kids, it’s a good idea to block communication until after hours. This means no calls, texts or emails.
You need to be focusing on your job, and nothing can derail your train of thought quicker than an unexpected argument with your ex-to-be.
3. Compartmentalise Everything
Divorce makes it easy to feel defeated and shut everything down. An effective way to stay productive is by scheduling every detail of your life so you make sure you check off what you need to get done.
Write down the most important things you have to get done each day. Pick the kids up from school. Prepare for Wednesday’s presentation. Buy groceries.
Another helpful tip is to schedule time every day for you to let off some steam. It’s important to stay focused on work, but it’s not realistic to completely block out all your emotions.
Pencil in a 10-15-minute coffee break when you can take a walk and process everything, or maybe just head to your car or private area and scream for a few minutes.
4. Take On More Tasks
One of the best ways to cope with the stress of divorce is by keeping your mind busy. So throw yourself into your work.
Volunteer to help lead more projects. The sense of accomplishment you’ll have after a job-well-done should give you a confidence boost.
Be careful with this one, though. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew and add even more unnecessary stress to your life.
5. Find Support Outside of Work
It’s OK to confide in a few co-workers about what you’re going through if you’re especially close with them, but generally it’s better to keep details of your divorce to a minimum when you’re at work. Disclosing too much information can also lead to a barrage of questions that you probably don’t want to deal with.
That means it’s especially important to establish a core support group outside of work who can help you through this transition.
Enlist the help of family, friends, neighbours, and other people you trust to not only provide a listening ear, but also to help with things like picking the kids up from school. Taking little tasks like that off your plate can go a long way towards easing your stress.
6. Stay Healthy
Make sure you’re eating healthy food, exercising consistently, and getting plenty of sleep. The better you take care of yourself, the better you’ll feel and the more productive you’ll be when you’re on the clock.