Bereavement

by Judy Carole

Introduction

It is extremely unlikely that any of us will escape bereavement during our lifetimes. This can be a life-changing experience or a moment of discomfort, hastily forgotten. However, when bereavement occurs in the workplace, everyone around may be affected and productivity can come to a sudden grinding halt. Anything that disrupts work potentially threatens the survival of the organisation. Compassion and practical issues can find themselves at loggerheads and unless both can find a way to work side by side, the fallout can be devastating to all concerned.

The symptoms of grief conflict with recognised workplace behaviour and in any other circumstance they would be considered an illness. These symptoms can include forgetfulness, difficulty in making decisions, anxiety, helplessness, difficulty in concentrating, lack of energy and crying – in other words, ‘inappropriate workplace behaviour.’

Death doesn’t really worry me that much; I’m not frightened about it... I just don’t want to be there when it happens.

Woody Allen

Grief can enter through many doors of a company: through the loss of someone close to a key employee or to the member of a team, or indeed the loss of someone within the team. This makes it all the more surprising that most organisations do not have a template for bereavement anywhere in their employees’ handbook.

This topic will help you to manoeuvre safely through the minefield of human emotions that can threaten to disrupt the most professional of workplaces.