This post is from Tracy Stewart, a financial professional in College Station specializing in collaborative divorce, and a Collaborative Law Institute of Texas board member, whose credentials include CPA/PFS/CFF, CFP and CDFA.
Divorce in the workplace can mess with your job or your business. This is true even when it is not your own divorce.
You Are the Divorcing Employee
When going through a divorce, you will likely be affected by the process. The whole ordeal is distracting and time-consuming. When your job performance is affected, you risk being passed up for a promotion or a raise, or your job itself might be at risk.
Your “presenteeism” can be costly to your employer. Presenteeism is the opposite of absenteeism. There are many stories about distracted employees making costly mistakes. One that comes to mind is the employee who prepared a bid for a three-year contract. Distracted by his divorce, he made a math error in the bid. His company was awarded the contract at 23% less than the intended bid price. His company was stuck with this loss for three years.
You Are the Divorcing Employer
When you own the company and are going through a divorce, your staff will likely lose productive work time. You may need to ask them to create financial reports and/or supply documents demanded by your spouse’s attorney. Your employees and partners may be deposed or called to the witness stand.
The lack of control over a nasty divorce can cause you to become more controlling at work. Your staff loses efficiency while trying to deal with your unpopular change in behavior. You are inaccessible while attending court appearances and depositions. This causes down time for your employees, which is of course costly for your business.
You Have Divorcing Co-workers
Divorce usually involves time-consuming phone calls, court appearances and stress. You may have to pick up the slack for a co-worker. This can eat into your own productivity and even your free time.
What You Can Do About It
The most effective way to keep divorce from messing with your job or your business is to avoid it. When that is not possible, try to steer the divorce to the collaborative process.
Couples in collaborative divorces have control over deadlines, document demands and meeting appointments. They avoid court appearances. When business demands are high, they can slow down the divorce process to accommodate the business. A traditional divorce process is not designed to allow that kind of control.
When divorce looks to be looming, suggest to your co-worker, employer or employee that they consider the collaborative process. If divorce is on your horizon, consider it for yourself.