Grief in the workplace

There is no clear guidance or direction on how to manage your grief whilst working. The ability and desire to return to work is usually dependant on many things including the relationship with the person who died, your personal coping strategies, financial situation, and work policies to name but a few. Some people find work is a helpful distraction whilst others feel unable to return to work for some time due to the overwhelming nature of their grief or the role they undertake.

It is important to follow your employer’s policies and stay in touch with them no matter what length of time off is taken.  Many people find it helpful for their manager or HR department to send a simple email to colleagues explaining with as much or as little detail as you wish why you have been off and how you wold like people to respond either stating that you prefer to return to “business as usual” or that you would appreciate time to talk about what’s happened.

People find it hard to concentrate after a death; you may find it really difficult to read a book or watch television; it’s quite normal to feel like this and to forget where things are or what you are meant to be doing. However this can be worrying and can cause problems at work. It is a good idea to talk to your manager to explain this. It may even be worthwhile exploring whether there is a possibility of altering your working hours or other ways of working to help you through this difficult period.

Having someone you can talk to about your worries and concerns is key. Ideally this will be the support of good manager, but the support of colleagues and friends within the work place and outside of it will also be very valuable.

For more advice on how to support someone who has been recently bereaved read here