Losing a member of the family or a friend is without a doubt a sad and stressful situation. The level of stress and grief is naturally larger if the persons in question were close friends or close relatives and the entire sad occurrence is bound to have an effect on workplace behavior and performance. Being there for the colleague that had suffered the loss is what every person in the company should participate in. Knowing how to deal with the loss, what to do when funeral service is in question and how to cope with everything in the days to come will surely make everything easier.
Everyone at the workplace should be aware of the fact that dealing with death and grief that comes with it is a process whose duration is individual and cannot be predicted. It is a well-known fact that grief has five stages and there is no way of knowing how long will each of them last. Having this in mind, everyone should be prepared to give their assistance in overcoming the sad situation as long as it takes for the person in question to overcome it and get back to his or her regular activities.
The initial reaction to the news of a misfortunate event in your colleague’s life is very important in overcoming the entire situation. Sending a sympathy note and flowers to his or her home will show your immediate support and will mean a lot. A phone call is also more than welcomed, as well as a personal home visit. Finally, offering a paid leave and flexible work hours would also be of a substantial aid.
Even though funerals are usually family matters, offering assistance with funeral organization would be a humane and friendly gesture. Naturally, being present during the ceremony and personally expressing condolences will certainly mean a lot and show immediate support. This does not mean that the entire company needs to be present, sending a representative will also be a sign of appreciation. In case the funeral takes place in a different city, funeral directors from Sydney say that flowers can be also sent to the funeral home, expressing condolences in such a way.
What to expect?
When a person who has suffered a loss comes back to work, his or her performance is likely to be at least somewhat different. Their productivity may be affected by inability to concentrate, disinterest in work related topics and details, mood changes and depression and a lack of motivation, for example. All these manifestations are perfectly normal and can be expected. Naturally, which of them will be particularly evident or not depends again on the individual in question.
How to react?
The most helpful reaction to any of the above mentioned manifestations and performance issues is to be supportive and available for conversation and assistance. Let your colleague be open about how he or she is feeling. By all means do not rush them in any way or put additional pressure of any kind, that would only be counterproductive. Experience shows that those who feel they are supported and understood will return to their normal productivity level faster and easier.
Communication Above All
Constant and open communication is by far the best way to overcome grief and return to regular working responsibilities and schedule. This goes both for communication with the person who experienced the loss and all other employees. Do not forget, everyone at the workplace is surely influenced by the situation.
Adequate reactions, compassion and understanding are what is required and necessary in order to cope with death and grief in the workplace. Above all, it takes time and honest support to overcome the situation. Provide them and everything will surely be all right.