Coworkers are not just friends; they are family. Dealing with the loss of a coworker is inherently overwhelming. The sudden demise of a coworker brings forth profound shock, sadness, and grief in the workplace. Typically, concentration and productivity take a significant dip.
In most instances, employees are left to grieve on their own. However, organizations should consider establishing welfare services to provide support to the grieving employees. Below are critical ways of helping employees deal with the death of a coworker.
Acknowledge the Employees’ Feelings
The most crucial step of helping employees to deal with grief is recognizing their feelings. Most times, nobody is prepared for death. Consequently, the news of death comes with sheer denial and disbelief. Additionally, the employees are likely to be lost in deep sorrow and helplessness. It will help if you give your employees ample time and space to grieve.
Inform the Employees About the Loss Immediately
Employers should consider notifying the staff about the demise promptly. It’s best if you convene a physical meeting to relay the news of the loss. If a face-to-face briefing is impossible, emails or text messages will do the job.
Relaying the sad news as soon as possible provides the staff with enough time to process the information. If the demise occurs during a working day, employers should ensure that grief-stricken employees arrive home safely.
Establishing a clear communication channel is vital, especially in the event of the loss of a coworker. Clear communication prevents misinformation from spreading in the workplace. Ensure that you provide timely notifications regarding the funeral arrangements.
Additionally, what you say during this period is inherently critical. Therefore, make sure to maintain high levels of compassion, commitment, and competence. Most importantly, validate the feelings and emotions of your employees.
Allow Time Off
Usually, people have different ways of dealing with grief. Employers should be considerate enough to allow some time off for the affected staff. During the time off, make sure to keep in touch with the employees.
Getting back to work following the loss of a coworker is immensely challenging. However, shutting down business for an extended period is equally dangerous. Employers should set up a reasonable return-to-work date for the employees. As normalcy gradually resumes, the HR department can consider finding a new worker to fill in.