Try as we might to keep our emotions to ourselves, personal problems can often end up impacting our performance at work and can lead to even more stress. We have compiled some tips to help you deal with a personal crisis at work, whether you’re the one experiencing it or have an employee under your supervision that’s in one:

For Employees:

Be selective in who you tell

It’s important to know that your employer more than likely will be very sympathetic and eager to help if you’ve recently experienced a severe crisis in your personal life. It is advisable to speak with your supervisor and/or human resources and fill them in on the situation, only disclosing as much as needed to express the gravity of what’s going on. They may be able to help you shift your workload a bit and even offer some personal time off, etc.

However, it’s often in your best interest not to tell your co-workers, or at least tell them as little as possible. This can often create drama and gossip within the workplace as well as change their perception of you. Best to keep your personal life separate and stay as professional as you can during this difficult time. Of course, if you have close relationships with certain co-workers and trust them, it can certainly be beneficial to tell them what’s going on so they can support you.

Do your best to focus

Focusing on your work may actually help you take your mind off things for awhile, and allow you an escape where you only have to worry about the tasks at hand. Try to surround yourself with positive people in your office and focus on your tasks during working hours. If needed, it may help to use your lunch break as a time to let emotions out, decompress, or even treat yourself!

Utilize your company’s benefits

If you find yourself unable to get much done or concentrate, it may be best to consider speaking with Human Resources about the company’s Employee Assistance Program, taking some personal leave time, seeing a psychologist, etc. Companies maintain these benefits to help their employees in difficult situations, so don’t be afraid to use them!

For Employers:

Don’t ask questions about their personal lives

If an employee approaches you about a problem, it’s usually best to listen intently and offer suggestions that will help them while keeping you out of the situation. Perhaps you can suggest they speak with HR about what benefits they could use during this time, suggest they seek professional help, or offer them the opportunity to use some of their accrued time off to deal with the situation.

Think about how you can help

While you don’t want to get too involved in your employee’s lives, there may be many things you can do to help in regards to their workload. You may consider re-assigning some of someone’s tasks temporarily, pushing a deadline, or letting non-urgent tasks sit on the back burner for awhile. Decreasing their stress level at work may help with their overall well being and increase the likelihood that they recover quickly.

Consider utilizing an Employee Assistance Program if you don’t already have one

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, “an employee assistance program (EAP) is designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee’s performance. The plan may also include a wide array of other services, such as nurse advice telephone access, basic legal assistance and referrals, adoption assistance, or assistance finding elder care services.”

Needless to say, this service could greatly benefit employees and help them through tough times without intervention on the supervisor’s part. Most benefit companies offer this option for workplaces of all sizes, though they are currently mostly utilized by larger corporations.

How Advizzy can help

Advizzy is an excellent addition to a company’s EAP program, allowing individuals to anonymously seek advice from peers and professionals. When faced with a serious dilemma, it’s often very difficult to focus on anything else. Allowing your staff to seek advice anonymously will help them resolve their problem fairly quickly, lifting a weight off their shoulders and leaving them ready to face the day and get back to their productive selves.

Though times of personal crisis can be especially difficult, knowing that one has support from their workplace can truly make a huge difference. Whether you’re the employee or employer, we urge you to consider how your workplace assists employees when they need it most.