Created on: January 02, 2013
Supporting your co-worker during their time of grief is a necessary kindness. Working side by side with someone allows for a friendship to form. Giving them your support is crucial in the process of helping them cope with their grief. Providing both personal and professional support is a great gesture during a difficult time.
You can offer support in several ways. Depending on your relationship you will want your
support to be appropriate. If you are co-workers only, then your support should remain on a professional level. Sending flowers and attending the services is necessary and helpful to them. If you are friends, you should step in and offer emotional support as well.
Support can be shown in many different ways. Providing a meal or two to the family is most helpful during this time. You can arrange meals with other co-workers so the family is provided with food for those first couple of weeks. This gives them a chance to tend to arrangements and will lessen the worry of providing food for their family.
If you are a close knit team, you may also offer to collect a monetary gift for your co-worker. This can help with unexpected expenses during a time of great stress.
Be there to listen. Quite often it is most helpful to have someone who is not a family member, provide a listening ear. Allow them to express their anger, sadness and other feelings without judging. They need to share their grief so they can begin to heal.
Once they return to work, ask often how they are and if you can do anything for them. Be supportive and kind. A co-worker has a great opportunity to help and aid them during this time of grief.
~Cover for them
If necessary, offer to cover their shift or help them with their work load. This will take off the stress of keeping up and being pulled in many directions while they grieve. Give them the time necessary to work through their grief. If your company allows, give up a vacation day for them.
People grieve in many different ways and it is best not to have expectations on how they will cope. If they know you have suffered a loss they may ask how you managed. Let them approach you about your loss rather than bring it up and compare losses. In the moment, it is hard to listen to someone talk about their loss when they are barely able to process their own. Be considerate of this and show empathy at all times.
When a co-worker is grieving, their work may suffer and they could jeopardize their job. Try to help them focus when necessary and go the extra step to help them out. Helping them with their work load will give them a chance to manage the transition of their loss.
Your kindness will always be appreciated and it goes back to The Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” This attitude always works and you will be giving your co-worker the best possible opportunity to work through their grief.
Learn more about this author, Peggy Lindgren.
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