Bereavement can be one of the most challenging topics to handle at work, but knowing how to sensitively help colleagues during this traumatic period can be crucial.
Gemma Bullivant specialises in grief support coaching and workshops for employees and managers. She says when an individual loses someone close to them, their manager and colleagues can play a vital role: “If someone is well supported during the most vulnerable time of their life, they are more likely to feel whole and healthy more quickly, and to have long-term engagement and trust [with their workplace].”
As an employer, you can:
- Create clear policies with an accessible bereavement policy, that includes statutory and additional provisions, and the type of leave available (for example, paid/unpaid)
- Offer immediate support to employees and understand that the employee is likely to take time off, and will most likely need guidance
- Seek expert input through bereavement charities and bereavement coaching
- Plan a caring return to work and ask the employee how the business can best support them
- Provide long-term understanding through regular communication