The lines between an employee’s personal and professional lives are never as clearly defined as we like to believe. Most of us know firsthand the effect negative job experiences and impossible expectations place on our personal lives, wreaking havoc on the time we spend away from work and consuming our attention to the point our free time never quite becomes our own. The reverse holds true as well- problems within our personal lives negatively affect our focus, our concentration, and our productivity when we are supposed to be on the job. The more serious the personal drama we experience, the bigger the hit to our productivity. And there are few personal dramas more serious and more detrimental to the workplace than legal issues.
Productivity Takes a Dive
We don’t need to rely on something as ephemeral and situational as “common sense” to connect decreased workplace productivity with personal legal problems- a recent study by Hyatt Legal Plans provides instantly compelling data:
On average, an employee with legal problems will spend 3 of their working hours every week handling the issue. This is in addition to any time employees actively spend away from work to deal with their problem.
Employees with legal problems directly correlated those problems with negative performance at work during those times when they were focusing on a task.
It doesn’t take a serious legal problem to cause craters in workplace productivity- this survey took into account disputes as small as traffic tickets.
The average legal dispute lasts 6 weeks, creating at least a month-and-a-half of impaired employee performance every time a legal issue crops up.
Personal Problems, Compounded
The above hits to workplace productivity are significant in and of themselves, and make it obvious you need to take whatever measures you can to help your employee clear up their legal problems as quickly and as easily as possible. But these points only tell half the story. Extended legal problems tend to lead to additional personal problems that compound on each other and further degrade employee productivity.
In fact, legal problems almost always lead to larger issues in three of the most important pillars of your employee’s personal lives: their financial standing, their sense of wellbeing, and their relationships.
The average lawyer charges at least $200 an hour for their services, and the Hyatt survey found that most employees spend at least $1,000 on each legal matter they need to deal with.
Nearly 1/3rd of all employees openly admit their legal problems create friction in their relationships with family members, with friends, and with partners.
The majority of employees indicate that their legal problems contributed to feelings of depression, and even created tangible physical problems such as insomnia.
Sweeping Away the False Dichotomy
So, how should anyone with an eye towards productivity proceed if they want to reduce the impact legal issues have on their workplace productivity? Despite the best team building efforts these problems affect employees. There are many strategies to address this problem one of them is incorporating team building activities in your organization. It can help you to understand how to handle the situation well also you can resort to some voluntary legal benefits plan within your organizations.
But the first step to combating the disastrous impact legal problems have on employee productivity is a simple one- acknowledging that the lines between the personal and the professional are thin at best, and, in all likelihood, non-existent.
The post is authored by Wilson Campbell. Being an HR expert, he is well aware of competency and proficiency of each individual. Also, he understands stress the staff can bear.