Grief in the Workplace

Grief affects all of us at different times and places in our lives. The workplace is not untouched by grief. Grief in the workplace occurs when you or a co-worker has experienced a personal loss or a workplace loss such as a death. It is important to remember that everyone grieves differently and everyone needs time to adjust to the loss. Here are some tips to help you and your co-workers cope with your grief:

Remembering your co-worker

  • Attend the funeral or memorial service of the person who died.
  • Create a memorial board. Encourage your co-workers to post messages or memories that remind them of your co-worker.
     
  • Consider holding a memorial service at your workplace. A brief service of remembrance can be helpful. Even if it is just a time to set aside for you and your co-workers to acknowledge your unique relationships with your co-worker.
     
  • Remember the person at staff meetings or annual events. These are times when grief reactions can resurface for your and your co-workers.
     
  • Hold or join in a fundraiser for a special cause in memory of the deceased.
     
  • Stay in touch with the deceased’s family. Send a card or note to let them know you have not forgotten them or your co-worker.

Offering support to co-workers and employees

  • Supporting each other and your employees will be essential to the grieving and healing process and maintaining a healthy workplace.
  • Know the company’s bereavement policies and ways the company can provide support.
  • Respect confidentiality and avoid gossip. If the deceased’s family is private about the details, set that example for co-workers or employees.
     
  • Be flexible and support one another.  What someone needs today may be different tomorrow.
     
  • Listen. Co-workers and employees may need to talk about the person who died for weeks or months to come.
     

National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, www.nhpco.org

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