Wellness Programs Address Bereavement in the Workplace

Grief Does Happen On The Job

Bereavement in the Workplace

Bereavement in the Workplace

Death of a loved one, serious illness and even divorce are all losses where we experience feelings of grief,  affecting  millions of people every year.  When you consider how frequently people who work may be affected by a family death or divorce, we begin to understand the magnitude of grief in the workplace. The majority of employees with benefits find their company does have a bereavement policy which is tied to the standard Family Medical Leave Act ( FMLA) policy allowing approximately three days leave.  As those of us who have experienced the death of a loved one know, the grieving just begins following a death and can affect us for many months following this is why grief happens in the workplace.

Hidden grief costs U.S. companies more than $75 billion annually {Tweet This}

According to The Grief Recovery Institute (www.grief-recovery.com), a nonprofit educational foundation who reported this starting finding in their 2003 report “The Hidden Annual Costs of Grief in America’s Workplace.”  The report goes into detailed statistics on how employees decision making skills are fair to poor in the weeks and months that follow the loss.  So the conclusion is clear that when we are grieving our emotional behavior can be compromised.  I believe in empowering employers and employees alike on what to expect and how to handle their own grief and that of co-workers.

Most people are uncomfortable around death, don’t know what to say or do.

This is what often occurs in our society, we don’t freely share our grief experience as it tests our vulnerability and our limited ability to help ourselves and others.  This cam also mean many grieve alone due to lack of support in the workplace.  Educating people on what to say and what not to say can mean the difference in getting support from your work peers.

Workplace wellness programs are starting to address grief with employees.

Recently I provided a workshop on “Bereavement In The Workplace” to a local city government through their wellness program.  They were proactive in presenting information to employees as they had seen an increase in employee serious illness and deaths both of employees and family members.  I provided some helpful information which included;

  • Myths about grief
  • Your emotions & grief
  • Why you need to mourn and grieve
  • Understanding grief & the affects in the workplace
  • Recognizing the impact on the entire workplace
  • How to acknowledge a loss at work
  • Suggestions on what to say & what not to say when a co-worker dies
  • Suggestion on what to do when a colleague has a death in their family

I respect companies that are exhibiting compassion and caring when employees experience loss, I believe these companies will win with more loyalty and good will in return from employees who believe their employer cares.

What has been your experience after returning to work following a significant death?  How were you treated by the employer and your peers?  Would love to hear your comments below;

If your company is interested in a workshop on Bereavement in the Workplace, please contact [email protected]

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