How to Offer Support to a Grieving Colleague (2022)

When a colleague returns to work after suffering the loss of a loved one, it’s hard to draw the line between what’s helpful and supportive, and what puts your coworker in an uncomfortable position. Saying the wrong thing can be painful, but simply ignoring the issue isn’t the solution.

In order to support a grieving colleague, you need to strike the right balance between doing, offering specific tasks that you can help with, and being, showing empathy. In order to position your support correctly, keep in mind these six don’ts when reaching out to a grieving coworker: don’t ask questions; don’t compare experiences; don’t rush your support; don’t track their progress; don’t expect it to be one and done; and most importantly, don’t ignore them.

Over the last year, my brother, my mother, a close friend, and six relatives have died. A couple of weeks after my brother’s death, I felt terribly guilty. I suddenly realized that, until that point, I’d had no clue how to support colleagues and friends who had lost loved ones. While I had goodintentions, I had done the very things that were not working for me now.

(Video) How to Support a Grieving Colleague

My colleagues also had good intentions. They wanted to support me, but didn’t always know how. The offers of support that were most challenging were targeted at taking action and moving things along before I was ready. Instead of feeling replenished, they left me feeling tired, confused, or anxious.

Broadly speaking, there are two ways you can support a grieving colleague: doing or being. Mourners need both.

We’re well-trained in doing through our work. We’re primed to leave every meeting with a set of action items. Activities like making a meal or picking up the kids from karate can make us feel valuable, demonstrably useful. Doing is familiar, easy, and comfortable.

But being can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re trying to support a coworker through loss. What does it look like to simply be with a colleague who is grieving? It looks like empathy.

Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, captures this idea well in her short video that distinguishes between the disconnecting properties of sympathy andthe connection we gain through empathy. In the video, she refers to nursing scholar Theresa Wiseman, whose research shows empathy to bethe capacity to recognize others’ perspectives as their true experience, to recognize others’ emotions and articulate them, and to avoid judgment. These are all active, not passive, qualities —but they’re a type of action that we don’t equate to checking things off a list.

(Video) GRIEF AT WORK: HOW TO DEAL WITH A GRIEVING EMPLOYEE - CAREER ADVICE

Being might be as simple as allowing your coworker to cry in your presence with the blinds closed. Being with your colleagues through exercising empathy and compassion brings you closer to each other. It’s harder for some of us, because this type of action requires us to be vulnerable, and it also requires us to be comfortable with someone else’s raw, vulnerable feelings. This may not be for everyone, or even something you offer to everyone.

Both doing and being can be helpful, depending on the person and the timing. It’s all in how we position our support to our colleagues. Here are some ways to do so and to strengthen your relationship with acoworker when they’re grieving.

Don’t ask. The questions you ask a grieving colleague can be targeted at specific action. Don’t ask how they’re doing, how you can help, or what happened. Keep it short and simple. Asking forces your coworker to do something; they have to decide whether and what to share, which they might not be capable of at that time. Instead, try saying, “I’m thinking of you,” “I’m holding you in my thoughts,” or “I’ll check in from time to time.” Because they might need some practical help, simply offer specific tasks you could do for them, and let them decide what, if anything, they would like you to do: “I want you to know you can call on me to help at any time. I can bring over meals, organize volunteers to help, run errands, make phone calls that are hard for you to make right now, walk with you, talk with you, or make a mean cup of chai. Just let me know when you’re ready to make those kinds of decisions.”

Don’t compare. Mourning my mother is radically different from mourning my brother. After my brother’s sudden death, I wanted to be with my immediate family and curl up in a ball on the sofa, doing nothing but sleeping deeply at night. After my mother’s long battle with Alzheimer’s, I’m eager to seek out friends and go on daily walks, but I can only sleep a few hours at a time. We’re all different in how we mourn. And the grieving process for each person is different depending on whom we mourn. Instead of going into a long description about what was helpful for you when you lost a loved one, briefly let your colleague know whetheryou’ve also lost someone, and say, “I can’t imagine what this is like for you.” Your colleague might ask you how itwas for you, or might just take comfort in knowing they’re not alone.

Don’t rush it. Just because you’re seeing your coworker for the first time since their loss, don’t feel compelled to blurt out your condolences right before the start of a business meeting. Make eye contact and notice they’re there. Afterward, send them an email letting them know you’re thinking of them or welcoming them back. Ask them when or how they’d like you to bring up your support and condolences in person. When in doubt, offer your condolences in private, during a lunch break, or when your colleague doesn’t have to set aside their raw emotions and get into business mode.

(Video) "Supporting bereaved employees and colleagues: grief, conversations and empathy in the workplace."

Don’t track their progress. While we know that the acuteness of grief will dull over time, many people in the throes of grieving aren’t ready to hear that, or to think about letting go of the grieving process. During brief pauses in their pain, they might feel guilty when they’ve managed to set aside sadness for a short time. Instead of saying, “Are you doing any better?” or “I’m glad you came to theparty. It must mean you’re doing better,” simply try, “It’s good to see you” or “I’m glad you came.”

Don’t think of this as a one-and-done. Grieving will take many forms over time. Some days I want to be by myself and shut out the world. Other days I’d love time with a friend or I crave a hug. And still others I’d simply appreciate having help to sort through my brother’s paperwork. Let your colleague know that you’re around. Set a reminder to check in with them every two weeks or so. When checking in, keep it short. Try a simple text, such as “Thinking of you” or “Here to support you whenever you need it.”

Don’t ignore them. After reading all these don’ts, you might be nervous to do anything. But don’t let your level of discomfort lead you to say nothing. Ultimately, your support and intentions will come through. Simply focus on your colleague and take your cue from them.

Your bereaved colleague will appreciate your intentto support them. Give them the space to call on your support as and when they need it, without being too forceful. Make your intentions known, and then leave it up to them to guide you in how far to go.

FAQs

How to Offer Support to a Grieving Colleague? ›

Instead, try saying, “I'm thinking of you,” “I'm holding you in my thoughts,” or “I'll check in from time to time.” Because they might need some practical help, simply offer specific tasks you could do for them, and let them decide what, if anything, they would like you to do: “I want you to know you can call on me to ...

What do you say to a colleague who lost a loved one? ›

Loss Of A Coworker Sympathy Card Messages
  1. “I am so sorry to hear about your loss. ...
  2. “May (name) rest in peace. ...
  3. “Thinking of you in these difficult times.”
  4. “My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. ...
  5. “Thinking of you, wishing you hope in the midst of sorrow, comfort in the midst of pain.”
Mar 8, 2022

How do you comfort a grieving friend? ›

For insight on comforting someone who's lost a loved one to suicide, read this article from The Recovery Village.
  1. Check in on them. ...
  2. Understand the grieving process. ...
  3. Listen more, talk less. ...
  4. Let them cry. ...
  5. Ask questions. ...
  6. Offer practical help. ...
  7. Be willing to sit in silence. ...
  8. Remember important dates.
May 1, 2022

What to write to someone who is grieving? ›

Examples
  • “We are so sorry for your loss.”
  • “I'm going to miss her, too.”
  • “I hope you feel surrounded by much love.”
  • “Sharing in your sadness as you remember Juan.”
  • “Sharing in your sadness as you remember Dan.”
  • “Sending healing prayers and comforting hugs. ...
  • “With deepest sympathy as you remember Robert.”
Apr 20, 2022

What are some comforting words? ›

The Right Words of Comfort for Someone Grieving
  • I'm sorry.
  • I care about you.
  • He/she will be dearly missed.
  • He/she is in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You are important to me.
  • My condolences.
  • I hope you find some peace today.

What do you say to comfort someone? ›

To comfort an unhappy friend, it might be better to tell him or her that you would be sad, too, if you were going through what they are. “Tell them 'I'm here for you', and reassure them that 'it's okay to cry',” Borschel says.

How do you console someone who is going through a hard time? ›

Here's how to support a friend going through a difficult time, according to experts.
  1. Offer To Hang Out. Shutterstock. ...
  2. Be There & Listen. ...
  3. Save The Advice For Later. ...
  4. Validate Their Feelings. ...
  5. Avoid Using Clichés. ...
  6. Run Errands For Them. ...
  7. Ask How You Can Help. ...
  8. Keep Checking In.
Feb 22, 2020

What is the best condolence message? ›

My sincerest condolences for you at this time. You have my deepest sympathy and unwavering support. Wishing you peace, comfort, courage, and lots of love at this time of sorrow. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time.

What are some comforting words? ›

The Right Words of Comfort for Someone Grieving
  • I'm sorry.
  • I care about you.
  • He/she will be dearly missed.
  • He/she is in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
  • You are important to me.
  • My condolences.
  • I hope you find some peace today.

How do you offer condolences? ›

Example condolence messages
  1. I'm sorry for your loss. ...
  2. Please accept my deepest condolences for you and your family's loss. ...
  3. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. ...
  4. I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your father. ...
  5. It was with great sadness that we learned of Daniel's passing.
Jul 1, 2021

How do you express gratitude to coworkers? ›

8 examples of a thank you note to coworkers
  1. “Thank you so much for all your help and your kindness. ...
  2. “I want to thank you for all your help with the project, I wouldn't have been able to complete it otherwise. ...
  3. “Thank you again. ...
  4. “We've accomplished a lot together and I appreciate all that you do.
Dec 1, 2021

How do you express condolences in an email? ›

Dear ___,
  1. It was with much sadness that we heard of [your loss], and we want to extend our sincere condolences.
  2. We're so sorry to hear about the loss of your _____.
  3. We hope you will take comfort in knowing that you are in our thoughts.
Dec 14, 2021

What is a polite response to condolences? ›

A simple "thank you" works. Other short phrases you can say are, "I appreciate it," or "That's very kind." If the other person knew the deceased and is grieving too, you can acknowledge that by also responding, "This must be hard for you, too."

While I had good intentions, I had done the very things that were not working for me now.. What does it look like to simply be with a colleague who is grieving?. It’s all in how we position our support to our colleagues.. Instead, try saying, “I’m thinking of you,” “I’m holding you in my thoughts,” or “I’ll check in from time to time.” Because they might need some practical help, simply offer specific tasks you could do for them, and let them decide what, if anything, they would like you to do: “I want you to know you can call on me to help at any time.. And the grieving process for each person is different depending on whom we mourn.. Ask them when or how they’d like you to bring up your support and condolences in person.. Other days I’d love time with a friend or I crave a hug.. Try a simple text, such as “Thinking of you” or “Here to support you whenever you need it.”

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear,” he writes.. Four years ago, on New Year’s Eve, my twin had given me this card — a tradition we had followed since we were young.. While every person grieves differently, there are a few things that helped me get by upon my own return to work.. The first thing to remember when you are ready to welcome a colleague back to work post-bereavement leave, is to offer them privacy.. The day I resumed work after a month of my twin’s passing, I was feeling like a wreck.. I still don’t know who left the book, but it did anchor me for months after.. When your colleague comes back to work, don’t make them relive the grief by asking about “the what” and “the how” behind the loss: How did this happen?. They will need time to navigate its impact before they are ready to talk about the experience of loss.. I’d rather they’d sent me their favorite memory of hers or just told me that they didn’t have the right words, but that they cared.. May be the best you can do is volunteer to take some load off your bereaved colleagues work by offering them every support they need.. Give them space and time : When your colleague comes back to work, don’t make them relive the grief by asking about “the what” and “the how” behind the loss.

For years, the president and CEO of Get Payroll in Lewisville, Texas—a payroll company with 17 employees—offered workers three days of bereavement leave and believed that gave them enough time to regroup and return ready to work.. Paradoxically, offering employees more time to deal with their grief—through longer bereavement leave, reduced hours and flexible schedules—could wind up costing organizations less, Sandberg says.. ​Earlier this year, Sandberg announced that Facebook would begin offering up to 20 days of bereavement leave in the event of a family member’s death.. According to Michael Fraccaro, Mastercard’s chief HR officer, employees of the financial services corporation now receive 20 days for the loss of a spouse, domestic partner, child or stepchild; 10 days for the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent or grandchild (including in-laws and step relationships); and five days for an extended family member’s death.. For employees who have close familial bonds, it can be helpful when bereavement leave is available for the deaths of relatives outside the immediate family.. Regardless of whether it’s a parent, spouse, child, cousin or close friend who dies, returning to work only three to four days after the loss can be difficult.. If the grief is profound, Van Curen will encourage the employee to get a note from his or her doctor saying additional time off is needed, so that she can put the employee on family medical leave.

While it can be challenging to comfort someone who is grieving, it is always better to send a condolence message than to avoid communicating with them.. In this article, we share 50 examples of condolence messages you can send a coworker along with some basic tips to follow when expressing your support to a grieving coworker.. A condolence message is an accepted way of communicating your sympathy in either a handwritten note or an email that expresses your emotional support to someone who is grieving.. "Our condolences for the loss of your [mother/father/partner].. "You have my deepest condolences for the loss of such a wonderful person.”. "I wish you and your family peace and comfort as you grieve the loss of your [family member].”. "My deepest condolences on the loss of your [family member].. "With deepest condolences to the [name] family.”. I would like to wish you comfort during this difficult time, and my deepest sympathies go to you and your family.. A sincere condolence message acknowledges a coworker’s loss, which can be comforting during the grieving process.. The condolence message you send to a grieving coworker helps to remind them they have your professional support during this difficult period in their life.. Taking the time to write a condolence message can show your colleague that you sympathize with their loss.. Writing a personalized condolence message acknowledges another person’s loss and shows they are valued at work .

The process for how to support employees through grief is, unfortunately, one of the hardest and most delicate tasks you’ll undertake as a business leader.. If the grieving. employee wants to share news of their loss with their co-workers, they will do. so.. Why is bereavement leave so important?. It allows people space to grieve privately.. Many companies offer bereavement leave as a standard benefit. for employees.. Provide continued support to the employee during this time.. Have a plan, too, for how you’ll manage an employee who becomes emotional at. work .. When work performance suffers for an extended period of. time, it’s understandable that you may feel anxious about how this impacts your. business.. The death of an employee can also impact your business in. other ways:. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to keep a pulse on the. relationships that have existed within your team and maintain a dialogue with. employees about their well-being – especially after the death of someone. important to them.. It’s understandable that your employees may want to attend. funeral services for a colleague.. Naturally, if your company has an EAP. office , you’ll want to reach out to them.. For each employee:. Provide a personal touch.

The loss the person has suffered may also be pet loss, career or job loss, grief relating to the loss of a life that was planned for but which may never now be realised, and many others.. How to support a colleague going through grief – What not to do. The funeral may not even have taken place or they may be involved in family politics about what the funeral should look like Assume that you can make the person feel less alone or isolated by sharing your own stories of grief or loss.. Be guided by the person Try to talk them out of their grief, minimise their loss in reference to bigger losses or even cheer them up.. How to support a colleague going through grief – What to do. Ask the person how you can support them Ask the person how they would like you to communicate what’s happening to them to colleagues and managers.. If that’s not possible, then simply share that they’ve had a bereavement and will be taking some time off Check in how they are doing – both immediately after the event and every so often – even as much as six months later, and on the anniversary of the loss (it may be a difficult day for the person even if they are at work and seemingly back on track) Offer practical support such as linking them with an employee counselling service that can offer advice and support Recognise that support does not just have to be verbal, sometimes just being made a cup of tea at an opportune moment can make all the difference Support the person’s line manager to be supportive as well.. You might also want to share some stress management tools for the manager to use on themselves, so if they do find themselves feeling uncomfortable whilst supporting their colleague, they have something that will help them to cope too Encourage colleagues to be supportive and even take on some of the load or shift things around when the person does return to work, so they can ease themselves back in without feeling overwhelmed and under pressure

Instead, offer some concrete ways you can offer them support.. Or if you’d prefer, I could come stay with you at your place.” If someone has lost their spouse or partner to death or divorce, their house can feel incredibly lonely.. If you’re close to a coworker who’s experiencing a hard time, offer to help with their workload until they’re in a better place.. There are people all around us who need help.. I’m happy to pay for them if you don’t mind.” Many of us have had that dreaded moment at the grocery store where we realize we don’t have enough money to pay for everything.. Friends, family members, coworkers, and even strangers need our help.

Simply showing up is the most important thing, but you can also offer practical help like walking the dog or picking up dinner.. While you may find yourself consoling someone grieving a death, your loved ones may also grieve other losses, and benefit from your support.. Here’s how the ring theory works: The person directly experiencing grief goes in a central circle, while those close to that person go in a circle outside.. But if you experience the loss — even if you’re in an outer circle — take a moment to acknowledge that , Dr. Newman says.. What's often most helpful to someone who is grieving: "Being able to share their feelings and feel understood," Dr. Saltz says.. This allows the person to think through what they really need, Dr. Newman says.. Showing up and expressing your sympathy is the most important thing you can do.. You don't want to dismiss the person's loss, Dr. Newman agrees.. ​ Make it all about you: ​ There's a temptation to take over, comparing the person's grief to your own, Dr. Saltz says.

Be attentive to how your colleague experiences the workplace during these emotional times, and explore ways you can help them step away when needed.. Many people feel awkward and uncomfortable when it comes to grief and mourning.. As they get back into the groove of the job, it’s important for you and your team to remember that grief is individual and unique to each person; the best way to find out what your coworker needs is, simply, to ask and listen with compassion.. They might feel guilty to be “moving on” or pressured to “appear normal.” It is typical for people to seem hyper-focused on “getting back to business” when they return to work .. Your colleague's emotions are vast and consuming at times, so platitudes often fall flat.. The important thing to remember is not to minimize their pain; phrases like “everything happens for a reason” or “glad you’re moving on” can make a grieving person feel pushed to the side.. Whether it’s a private moment or a more public one (like a meeting), you’re going to want to provide your colleague with the space they need when they are openly displaying grief.. Listen to the ways they’re experiencing the workplace during these emotional times, and explore ways you can help them step away when needed.

Often, they also feel isolated and alone in their grief, since the intense pain and difficult emotions can make people uncomfortable about offering support.. Everyone grieves differently, so avoid telling your loved one what they “should” be feeling or doing.. A grieving person may yell to the heavens, obsess about the death, lash out at loved ones, or cry for hours on end.. Don’t pressure your loved one to move on or make them feel like they’ve been grieving too long.. And when it seems appropriate, ask sensitive questions—without being nosy—that invite the grieving person to openly express their feelings.. For example, you could say something as simple as: “I heard that your father died.” By using the word “died” you’ll show that you’re more open to talk about how the grieving person really feels.. The emotions of grief can change rapidly so don’t assume you know how the bereaved person feels at any given time.. No two people experience it exactly the same way, so don’t claim to “know” what the person is feeling or compare your grief to theirs.. Don’t press if the grieving person doesn’t feel like talking.. The length of the grieving process varies from person to person, but often lasts much longer than most people expect.. Encourage the grieving person to seek professional help if you observe any of the following warning signs after the initial grieving period—especially if it’s been over two months since the death.

It might be difficult for employees to balance work and bereavement, but it's even more difficult if they don't feel like their company cares about them.. For example providing bereavement leave, knowing when to return back to work, scheduling check-ins, and taking the time off of work if necessary are all ways you can support your employees during this difficult time.. The first way to provide a grieving employee support is by being mindful of the stages of Grief.It is important to understand the different stages of grief because the steps you can take to make an employee feel supported during a loss may vary depending on the various stages of grief.. At this time it's best to give them some space and allow them to work on themselves before talking about work.. During this time it's important to make sure they know that you are there for them and that they haven't done anything wrong.It's okay for them to slow down on work and it's important that they take care of themselves before being productive at work.. Not only does an employee need time to grieve but they will also need time to make arrangements as well as spend time with other family members that may also be grieving.

Provide the option to work fewer hours, work from home, or offer time off.. Supporting an employee through grief is a delicate process.. At the same time, you know the employee personally, and it’s only natural to feel for them in this time of loss.. A direct supervisor can help the employee coordinate getting the maximum guaranteed bereavement leave with Human Resources, communicate the news to teammates, and distribute the employee’s work responsibilities across the team.. The best way to show your employee that you care is to acknowledge their loss directly and express your support in a concrete way.. As a leader, you may also want to contact the rest of the team or the office in order to coordinate a group card, send a food basket, deliver flowers, make a donation, and/or attend the funeral.. While your employee is out of the office, they should be free from any work obligations.. Some employees come back to work when they are not ready, either because they feel isolated or empty at home or simply because they have exhausted their paid leave.. The fact is that even a very good employee who’s suffering grief may be unable to perform job responsibilities as well, or even to come back to work full time.. Some signs to look out for that may mean that your employee needs additional support: they are not meeting their responsibilities or making errors they never made before; their teammates are grumbling and becoming resentful; or they are frequently calling in sick or disappearing during the day.. If you do not see your employee making much emotional progress and they are not functioning well, refer them to your company’s Employee Assistance Program (if you have one) or give them time to get counseling.

Bereavement leave is a specific type of leave that employees can take following the death of a loved one.. The death of a loved one is one of the top five most stressful life events, and your employee will need your support throughout the grieving process.. One of the best ways to show your support for a bereaved colleague is to communicate openly with them about taking time off for the death of a loved one.. In any case, having open, continued conversations around taking time off – whether under a bereavement leave policy or through unpaid leave – can help your employees feel supported and take a weight off their shoulders as they handle personal matters in the aftermath of the loss.. Grief and bereavement are heavy, and for an employee working through a recent loss, grief is an ongoing process.. Sometimes, an employee may need more time off than what’s covered by your bereavement leave policy.. A grieving colleague may even be one of the best performers within your organization.

“Grief is a long, painful journey.. Your supportive presence, particularly when he is just returning to work and in the weeks and months ahead, can make an important difference in how your coworker heals.. Make contact Reach out to your coworker in grief.. It can be very appropriate to say, “I’m sorry that your mother died, and I want you to know that I’m thinking of you.” This lets your co-worker know that you are available to listen and can be sensitive to her feelings of sadness and loss.. Listen with your heart If your coworker wants to talk about his grief, LISTEN.. Listen patiently.. Activate support systems If appropriate, mention your co-worker’s loss and need for compassionate support to other coworkers who can offer help.. If the person who died was a coworker When someone you have worked with dies, you will be faced with grief yourself.. All of these grief feelings are normal and necessary.. No two people respond to death in exactly the same say.

While I had good intentions, I had done the very things that were not working for me now.. What does it look like to simply be with a colleague who is grieving?. It’s all in how we position our support to our colleagues.. Don’t ask.. Instead, try saying, “I’m thinking of you,” “I’m holding you in my thoughts,” or “I’ll check in from time to time.” Because they might need some practical help, simply offer specific tasks you could do for them, and let them decide what, if anything, they would like you to do: “I want you to know you can call on me to help at any time.. And the grieving process for each person is different depending on whom we mourn.. Ask them when or how they’d like you to bring up your support and condolences in person.. Other days I’d love time with a friend or I crave a hug.. Let your colleague know that you’re around.. Try a simple text, such as “Thinking of you” or “Here to support you whenever you need it.”. Make your intentions known, and then leave it up to them to guide you in how far to go.

So whilst you shouldn’t pressure them to talk freely about their loss if they don’t want to you should let them know you are their to listen if they wish to.. Let them open up in their own time – “Do you feel like talking?”, “I’m here for you if you want to talk” Do not force them to open up.. It will make it far easier for them to accept your offer if it’s a very direct and specific question as opposed to something more general.. This may not be appropriate at first but as time goes by then a bereaved person will have lots of free time on their hands.. “It’s time to move on” There is no time limit for grief and whilst you might feel they should be moving on they may need more time.. Major landmarks are often tough times for anyone who has lost a loved one, so make a note of them to offer support again.. If you find it hard talking face to face then this can be a good way to stay in touch and offer some support.. A child will experience grief in a similar way to adults but may require further support and reassurance.. Grief will cause feelings of depression and misery but these should pass with time.. If they don’t or they are actually getting worse over time then it’s possible their grief had turned into something more serious.

My inbox burst with gift cards to food-delivery services and emails just “checking in.” I was given the freedom to work or not work, and, perhaps more importantly, to choose the types of tasks that felt possible and comfortable to engage in.. Before that time, I thought I was pretty good at supporting colleagues.. The idea of showing support has also taken on renewed importance as the pandemic forces new ways of establishing work relationships.. There are many ways to send food.. Our company has largely shifted to sending gift cards to food-delivery services so people can put in their own orders.. What helped me when I needed to be out of commission: Colleagues who offered to take over entire processes or tasks and simply turned to me for final approval.. On Day 3 of Covid, I sent an email to teams saying I was checking email twice a day and would let them know when I planned to resume a more normal cadence.. The nature of long Covid, and the uncertainty of whether it will strike, also makes those of us who have gotten Covid afraid to say it’s really over.. Two cards we recently received – literally months after my mother-in-law died – exemplify another meaningful gesture: to show up for people long after the funeral and let them know you know it’s still hard.. I was honest about why I was working on some things and not on others.. Such was the case recently as my Covid coincided with a small but meaningful industry gathering that I was truly sad to miss.. But other attendees, perhaps equal parts guilted into keeping me updated and legitimately missing my presence too, did a few things to make me feel included:. Over the pandemic, “people sought new ways to connect and show appreciation from afar.. We saw it across client relationship building, in sales, with internal employee appreciation,” says Kamm.. A constant show of appreciation helps build the kind of companies people actually want to work for.

Is it ok to send a text offering condolences?. If you only talk online or through text, there's nothing wrong with responding to the news by sending a text.. Here are words to comfort someone who lost a loved one over text:. Here are words to comfort a closed friend who lost a loved one over text:. If it's your partner or spouse who lost a loved one, it's also appropriate to send text messages throughout the day to let them know that you're there for them.. A text message offering love and support may come through when a pick me up is needed.. “Sending you thoughts of love and prayer to let you know that I am here for you.” This simple message can be very impactful when sent at the appropriate time in the grieving process.

Your first response is one of the most important moments after finding out about a team member's loss.. Author and speaker Mark Crowley says the best thing you can do after learning that a team member has lost a loved one is to call and offer your support.. "It's tempting to believe employees don't want to be "bothered” by their boss in their time of grief and mourning...But in moments of deep loss, human beings need to feel supported and cared for by the people closest to them.”. The smaller your team, the less you can afford to be without a single team member, so it's important to know how to balance being empathetic with making sure the work gets done.. Crowley says he's often seen selfish managers respond to an employee's loss from the perspective of what they're losing– seeing their goals and deadlines slip through their fingers due to the loss of a team member.. "When a member of your team suffers a great loss, the leader's job is to circle the wagons , bring the team together and divvy up the employee's workload until they return.. What if the employee who experienced the loss is new to the team?. What if it isn't a member of your team who experiences the loss – but you?. The pain of a tragic loss is unimaginable for those who haven't experienced it, so how can you deal with the grief while moving forward and leading your team?

Generally, the most effective ways to offer emotional support to a grieving person is to listen to them and to be simply and fully present — with compassion, without judgment.. If difficult situations arise, such as the grieving person experiencing feelings of anger, hopelessness, or regret, what can a concerned person do to be helpful and consoling in such circumstances?. At the same time, just because a grieving person doesn’t look sad, it doesn’t mean that they’re not processing their grief in their own real way.”. What are some practical things you can do to offer support to someone who is grieving, e.g., make phone calls, help make arrangements, cook, do laundry, etc.. “Your willingness to listen and be truly present for your friend means being able to witness and fully accept expressions of their grief that we as a culture tend to find uncomfortable — sadness, regret, anger, lethargy, loss of focus or purpose, mania, and many other things that fall under the category of “normal” reactions to the loss of a loved one.. Grieving people report getting lots of well-meaning guidance and platitudes (i.e., “Time heals all wounds,” “You’ve got to stay busy”) from other people, but these are rarely helpful to the grieving person.. While it’s natural to not want to inadvertently make your grieving friend feel worse, the truth is that they probably already experience painful feelings much of the time and feel a strong sense of alienation as a grieving person — so you reaching out to them is valuable because it helps them know that while they may feel alone in their grief, you will continue to be there to support them through it.”. While for the rest of the world the passage of time might suggest that the grieving person should now be able to “move on,” for a person who is grieving, the days passing means coming of anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and a whole slew of other dates that have a new and painful significance since their loved one’s death.. As a friend of the grieving person, keeping track of these meaningful dates can help you anticipate especially difficult days in your friend’s life.. Remember that there’s no specific formula for being a good friend to a grieving person — simply being fully present for your friend through the seasons of their grief will make all the difference in the world to them.”

Unfortunately, all individuals will experience bereavement at some time in their lives, but when this happens to someone in your workforce, how do you provide a framework of bereavement advice and support?. It can be an unpredictable time, and people can feel:. Shock and numbness—this is usually the first reaction to loss, and people often talk about "being in a daze" Overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying Tiredness or exhaustion Anger—towards the person you’ve lost or just a general angst Guilt—for example, guilt about feeling angry, about something you said or did not say, or not being able to stop your loved one dying. Trained counsellors offer professional bereavement counselling, in which you’re encouraged to open up about the intense feelings that you have.. Bereavement support groups are a great way to work through grief and talk about mental health issues with people who understands.. Focus on the areas of your life being heavily affected by bereavement Understand that you’re not alone in your grief Find ways to cope with and accept the loss you feel Work on concentrating on positive memories Grieve properly in a safe, non-judgmental space. Child bereavement support is an especially difficult and sensitive area—charities such as Winston’s Wish and Hope Again offer great, sensitive ways to help a child cope.. A well-planned and managed approach to bereavement at the workplace will not only help bereaved employees to cope better with their loss, but it will also help:. You should specify your company’s approach to bereavement leave in your employee handbook.. In situations where a death occurs in the workplace, support from trauma specialists may be required .. These specialists can provide individual and group support on-site within 24-48 hours of the incident, and signpost staff to structured counselling services for ongoing support.

Videos

1. Supporting a Grieving Friend - Esther Perel & Julia Samuel
(Esther Perel)
2. How can you help grieving co-workers?
(Chuck & Ashley)
3. Grief Counselling: 3 Techniques Therapists Can Use
(Uncommon Practitioners)
4. Death of a Colleague in the Workplace
(R3 Continuum)
5. HR Rescue: Workplace Grief - When a Coworker Dies
(TheHRShield)
6. Coping with the Death of a Colleague
(MidYorksNHS)

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