When coping with a loss, focusing on work can be a great way to get your mind off the grief and start to feel productive again, but this luxury is not afforded when you’re dealing with the loss of a coworker. In this situation, going back to work and sitting in meetings only brings up memories and reminds you of the loss. In times like this, it’s important that everyone in the office band together and act as a support system for each other. To provide this much-needed support, here are a few tips.
Don’t Put Expectations on Others
One quick way to make matters worse is trying to predict or put expectations on how your other coworkers should react to the loss. Just because someone was especially close to the deceased doesn’t mean they will be visibly distraught, and you might be surprised at how hard others who you thought weren’t very close to the deceased take the loss. Everyone will react differently, and there’s no sense placing your own expectations on your coworkers’ reactions.
Give it Time
It’s important for management to understand that the week or two following the death won’t set any productivity records. People will probably need a few days of bereavement and some breaks throughout the day. Bringing in a grief counselor to talk with the staff is also a good idea. Trying to rush the process and get everyone back to 100% productivity right away can prolong the process.
Open the Office to the Family
Family members are often unaware of the various relationships we have at work. They might have heard a name of a few coworkers in passing or maybe even met some coworkers at a work function, but rarely do family members fully understand the role we play at work and how we impact those we work with. Inviting the family to the office to see the deceased’s desk and get to know their coworkers can help everyone grieve together. It can also help the employees understand what their coworker was like outside of the office.