This month, according to research from Osbornes Law, was the most popular month for divorce based on the stats that nearly 500 divorce petitions were registered between Christmas and New Years with the period being known as the most common time for marriages to break down. We spoke to Dawn Kaffel, couples therapist, to find out about how this can affect people at work. http://coupleworks.co.uk/
Why do you think that January has seen such a surge in petitions for divorce?
*Problems in the marriage have probably been bubbling around for some time. Spending enforced time over the Christmas break with extended family and friends can be hard and often contributes to emotions running high which can push us to breaking point.
*January is the start of a new year and the hope of a fresh start – a month for change. This can range from taking up new exercise regimes and diets, to making some very bold and courageous ones like changing jobs or filing for divorce
*A time to reflect what is working for us and what is not – what to keep working on and what to let go of.
*A decision to divorce can be very scary and anxiety provoking and we often put off having to deal with these emotions
*If children are involved putting on a brave face and having one last Christmas holiday as a family before a split can help towards an amicable separation
How can divorce and separation affect people at work?
*Tendency to minimise the impact of what goes on outside of work in the workplace.
*The breakdown of a relationship is an extremely stressful and long process and affects everyone whether at junior level or executive position. It can take its toll on even the most robust and leaves all feeling vulnerable.
*Increase in sick leave due to acute anxiety and stress of a break up
*More work-time hours taken up with solicitor appointments, mediation, counselling
*Constantly worrying how children are coping and having to spend more time with them, will affect productivity
*Endless stream of legal, financial, housing and childcare decisions that have to be made can be overwhelming and trying to hold down a stressful job can lead to employees quitting.
What role do you think employers can play in supporting their staff in this area?
*More understanding required from employers just how difficult and painful this process can be
*Employers need to create an atmosphere at work where employees feel supported in what they are going through rather than feel they have to soldier on fearing they may loose their job.
*January can be an opportunity for companies to look at simple changes and procedures that can help employees more productive at these times.
*Offering a change of working hours to be more readily available for children
*The opportunity to take time out of working hours to go to solicitor, mediation, or counselling appointments
*Offering staff either in-house confidential support that includes, financial and legal information and counselling services and/or a comprehensive referral register of organisations and private therapists for employees to contact
*No pressure to take on any extra work or new projects at this time