When an employee suffers a loss, the transition from grieving to returning to work can be a very sensitive time. Some employees may welcome the return to the workplace as an area of their lives untouched by loss, while others may feel a great sense of anxiety and stress.
The following provides helpful suggestions from the American Hospice Foundation on dealing with grief in the workplace, to help ease the return to work by employees who have experienced a loss.
- Be sure to alert the office and let them know what happened—provide information that you are comfortable sharing.
- If possible, stay in touch with one key person to provide enough information to keep speculation at a minimum. Keep him or her informed about funeral arrangements, time away from work, and how you are doing.
- Let your office know you want to be included in regular email correspondence so you can be kept updated on what is happening at the office.
- Consider returning for half-days for a week or so, easing your way back into the normal routine.
- Set up regular meetings with your supervisor, colleagues or employees to talk about what is happening. Ask for feedback. Good, clear communication is important.
- If help is needed with certain projects or deadlines, be sure to thank those who help you. Small rewards are often appreciated, such as coffee break snacks, flowers, public thanks at a meeting, or an appreciative email.
- Thinking ahead will make your return to work easier and less painful. Healing from the death of a loved one is a long, slow process, but getting back into a routine is an important step in the journey.
For further guidance, please go to the American Hospice Foundation.