Can have a profound effect on staff members and impact various aspects of the workplace.
Occurs when you or a co-worker experiences a personal loss or loss within in the workplace such as a death.
Can cause colleagues to experience disenfranchised grief. (Grief that is unacknowledged)
What is grief?
Grief is a normal response to loss; it is not a disease or problem that needs fixing.
Grief affects us emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually.
Bereavement refers to the period of mourning and grief following the death of a beloved person. It is the state or fact of suffering the death of a loved one.
Anticipatory grief refers to a grief reaction that occurs before an impending loss. Typically, the impending loss is a death of someone close due to illness but it can also be experienced by dying individuals themselves.
Grief & on-the-job performance
Grief can affect an employee’s on-the-job performance and can manifest through:
Inability to concentrate
Lack of motivation
Difficulty with decision-making
Increased risk of illness or injury
Grief is a process and a person does not simply ‘snap out of it’.
Providing an employee with flexible workload can help facilitate productivity.
Key leadership tasks for managers
Review and/or help develop company policies on bereavement.
Have a plan in place for dealing with workplace grief.
Create a workplace environment that acknowledges the grief process.
Develop ways to effectively address the grieving employee’s morale and work capacity.
Communicate with staff team.
Mobilize people and resources.
Seek support to lead the organization’s learning.
Give staff time and space to deal with the death.
Adjust employee’s workload.
Ensure that your employee has access to your EAP service provider.
Helping a grieving co-worker: “Do…”
Allow people to talk about their grief.
Honor their emotions.
Acknowledge their tears and other expressions of grief without judgment.
Attend the funeral or memorial service if you feel comfortable doing so.
Write a note of support or encouragement.
Encourage them to seek out someone who can support them.
Be patient with them – grief can be a long process.
Maintain your support through the months ahead.
Have resources handy.
Respect confidentiality and avoid gossip.
Helping a grieving co-worker: “Don’t…”
Avoid saying anything; because saying ‘nothing’ is saying something!
Worry about what to say – Just Listen!
Avoid your co-worker or mentioning the deceased person’s name.
Assume you know how they feel.
Ignore or downplay their loss.
Be afraid of their suffering. Expect and be okay with tears as these are a normal part of the grieving process.
Finding the “right” words
Instead of saying: “How are you today?”
You could say: “How are you coping/managing today.”
Instead of saying: “I understand just how you feel.”
You could say: “I cannot imagine how you are feeling.”
Instead of saying: “Time heals all wounds.”
You could say: “Take the time you need and be patient and gentle with yourself.”
Instead of saying: “At least he/she is no longer in pain.”
You could say: “I am sad for your loss.”
Instead of saying: “It’s God’s will” or “God does not give us anything we cannot handle.”
“I am thinking about you.”
Hospice of Waterloo Region – We Can Help! Call us…519-743-4114
We offer weekly Bereavement Walking Groups for the bereaved in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge.
Our MSW’s offer 1:1 counselling for those who are supporting someone approaching end of life or have experienced the death of a loved one in the last 2 years.
We can refer the bereaved to traditional bereavement support groups or professional counseling agencies if they require additional support.
Hospice of Waterloo Region
298 Lawrence Avenue
Kitchener, ON N2M 1Y4
(519)743-4114 [email protected]