The loss of a loved one is devastating. It’s a time of uncertainty for the person who has suffered the loss but also for every person in their life who wants to help. Grief is a healing process that looks different for everyone.
You can never know when loss will occur, but you can take steps to make your workplace a safe space for grief.
Allow for Emotions
Grief comes loaded with a lot of emotions. Shock and sadness are to be expected. But did you know there are “stages” to grief, each with its own emotion? These are; shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People will go through these stages at their own pace, will feel their emotions at a different intensity on different days, and their emotions may present in a way you’ve never seen before.
Have a Policy
Having a policy is good. It gives someone who is grieving something solid to cling to in an uncertain time. You can share your company’s Employee Assistance Program information at let them know if leave is available to them.
Teach Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a vital managerial tool. Just because someone is back at work doesn’t mean they’re “over it” or 100% okay. But if they notice that their grief is making their co-workers uncomfortable, they’ll feel like work isn’t a safe space to process their grief or remember the person they lost. Loss isn’t an elephant that you can ignore, and even if a person isn’t ready to talk yet, just knowing that someone cares can make them feel less isolated and alone. Grief counselors suggest using phrases like “I don’t know what to say, just know I care and I’m here if you want to talk.”