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An employers guide to personal problems in the workplace

The productivity of a workplace relies on the productivity of its staff. If an employee is having issues in their personal life it can affect their productivity, whether they want it to or not. It can be bad for the employee, their colleagues and for the business commercially.

Take a look at the scenarios below, and think about how your business deals with employees experiencing personal problems.

Scenario 1 – Bill and Sam

‘Don’t bring your personal problems into work’ was the approach that small business owner Bill took. He thought that was the right stance; work is work and you leave your personal life at the door. However Sam, a key member of his workforce couldn’t do that, however much she wanted to. Her 20 year marriage was over, she was hurt, confused and didn’t know where to turn.

Her work and the business started to suffer. She began to get distracted and make mistakes, she’d come in late and take time off to deal with the consequences of her separation, she’d break down at work and her colleagues were covering for more and more of her work. Because Sam didn’t get the right advice in the beginning, she got involved in a convoluted all out legal battle.

At the end of her case, Sam told anyone who’d listen what a bad, unsupportive employer Bill was and, as a result, found a new job as quickly as she could. By not dealing with the issue in the correct way, Bill lost one of his key members of staff.

What should Bill have done?

Plainly, Bill could have handled this better. He could have had aworkplace policy on personal relationship problems in place. Such a policy acknowledges that divorce and separation can harm staff and in turn a workplace, and refers anyone in Sam’s position to a Collaborative Lawyer or Mediator. Collaborative Law and Mediation are methods of tackling separation which save time, money, and crucially, much of the emotional damage caused by divorce or separation.

Scenario 2 – Jenny and Bob

When Jenny’s right hand man Bob broke down at work because his wife had left him, Jenny made Bob an appointment with a local Collaborative Lawyer. Jenny rightly identified that if she didn’t support Bob, his work and her business could suffer.

Jenny paid the £90 initial consultation fee, and watched as Bob got the right advice; advice that allowed Bob to keep his focus at work, get through his family problems much more quickly, and so cause less damage to Jenny’s business.

Bob was grateful for the way his employer had handled his problem and that Jenny had made the appointment for him. Bob told anyone who’d listen about what a good boss Jenny was and what a great company she has, this helped her to recruit and retain staff.

Jenny handled this issue in the right way, for the benefit of both her employee and her business.

As an employer, your staff’s personal problems are your concern. You owe it to your staff and your business, to try and get staff through issues such as divorce and separation with the minimum collateral damage possible.

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