A person who is grieving may benefit a lot emotionally, even from little actions. You can simply send a card or flowers, buy them a meal, take care of their laundry or go shopping with them. Besides these options, even setting up a regular meeting to listen and offer support can also turn out to be heartwarming for that person.
8 Tips to Help a Colleague Grieving a Loss
There are no hard-and-fast guidelines when it comes to grieving the loss of a loved one. This process may last weeks or even years. Nevertheless, there are some clear dos and don'ts to remember when sending an email or expressing sympathies via a formal channel.
When someone has endured a loss, especially if that person is a co-worker, you must execute supportive actions cautiously. In addition, you may not be the best person to contemplate how to help a colleague grieving a loss if both of you never shared a solid bond.
How to Offer Support to a Grieving Colleague?
When speaking to grieving colleagues, paying attention to their cause of distress is crucial. Grief counsellors emphasise that people need to have their grief acknowledged.
While supporting your grieving colleague, we suggest you particularly consider these points:
1. Refrain from Delivering Clichéd LinesThis includes attempts to console your colleague with statements like "This will pass soon," "They are in a better place now," and "Everything occurs for a reason." If you know someone who is going through a tough time and previously approached you for solutions but now prefers not to behave the same, maybe this can be a reason behind their changed habits.
2. Spend Sufficient Time to ListenIt is the most important step, as without listening to the root causes, you cannot suggest practical solutions. Moreover, while suffering grief, anyone would desire their close people to pay undivided attention just to listen to them without judging.
3. Show ToleranceYou must not take desperate actions even if you are confident in your knowledge of how to help a colleague grieving a loss. Consider being patient with them, as this will be increasingly helpful at this difficult time. Carefully give them your time and support if they seem to be having problems concentrating on an assignment.
4.Attempt to Provide a Sense of SecurityFor instance, if a person holds a position that requires them to interact with a lot of people, it will be highly beneficial if their supervisor serves as the single point of contact. This will help the person to maintain focus on their work without spending too much emotional energy over thoughts of managing numerous relationships.
5. Avoid Interrogatory SituationsAsking about your colleague's general well-being now and then would be okay. But it would be better not to interfere too much in their personal life. Especially at this stage, people tend to be sensitive. Thus, only give them a call or try to initiate a deep conversation if you see positive signals from their end.
6. Choose the Perfect Place and Time Judiciously
It may lead to extremely unpleasant moments for both of you if you start offering condolences in the workplace.
Rather it is preferable to talk about sensitive matters outside rather than during large meetings or calls simply because it demands a separate personal space. If such instances do not arise, you are not obligated to discuss it with them. Eventually, you can still let them know you are thinking of them by sending an email.
7. Wisely Choose Your WordsWhen you send a message to a colleague expressing your shock, sadness, or sympathies, you run the risk of unintentionally bringing up the subject of their loss. Even while it is customary to remark, "May their soul rest in peace," saying so can accidentally drag your grieving coworker back into a troubled emotion they are already trying to navigate. To avoid this from happening, you must understand that between loss and acceptance, there is friction.
8. Ensure the Person Gets Privacy
When you are prepared to welcome a colleague back to work after an unfortunate incident, the first thing to keep in mind is to give them privacy. Privacy does not require you to ignore your co-worker’s behavioural patterns. On the contrary, here, maintaining your privacy means not bringing up their loss time and again.
There are numerous other solutions if you are contemplating how to help a colleague grieving a loss. One needs to encourage a colleague going through a difficult time. Despite giving them a way out, so they do not feel pressured to answer right away, you may reassure them that you are available if they need anything.
FAQs on How to Support a Grieving Colleague
Here are some sample texts that you may forward to a person who is grieving the loss of their loved one:
- “I just wanted to remind you that my thoughts are with you”
- “If you ever need to talk, I am here”
- “I send my sincere sympathies to you and your family”
- “Do you need me to deliver something to you?”
It is highly suggested to avoid these phrases, especially when you are tackling a grief-stricken individual:
- “You must stop crying”
- “I can understand how much this hurts”
- “They deserved this; do not feel this much sorry”
- “Be thankful that at least he is no longer suffering”
In general, the above guide should be sufficient when supporting a subordinate at work. In addition, refrain from trying to be too friendly, sending care packages, or assigning additional leaves unless asked or the workplace dynamics demand it.
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