Grief in the workplace is a challenging situation for everyone involved. Supporting grief is not in anyone’s official job description. Life with Covid-19 has amplified these challenges and has created unexpected barriers to accessing support. Covid-19 has been a very challenging area of grief with many complicated layers that none of us could have prepared for.
In more recent years, employers have become more knowledgeable about mental health and have taken a more active role in supporting the emotional and psychological needs of their employees.
It is common for an individual experiencing grief to find it difficult to focus on the task at hand. This can result in a lack of motivation and be accompanied by thoughts of hopelessness. Often grief can cause an overall loss in job performance and an increase in sick leave. Supporting our employees through loss is not only important for their well-being, but essential in maintaining productivity in the workplace.
Some may think that grief is only from the death of a loved one, but it is so much more...
Grief has the power to disrupt all aspects of one's daily life and left unsupported, increases feelings of stress and anxiety. In addition to the death of a loved one, grief also happens in instances of divorce, family breakdown, family addictions, pet loss, trauma, job loss, financial instability, child with special needs, miscarriage, sexual assault, injury, or a medical diagnosis. Employers that ignore this reality, will be faced with high sick leave and resignations, which results in highly valued and skilled employees moving on. If grieving employees receive the support they need from their workplace, they will gradually return to their job with a renewed feeling of appreciation from their employer as they navigate this difficult time.
All of us will experience grief at some point in our lives...
Grief is not a mental illness, but a natural reaction to loss. Unresolved and prolonged grief can result in physical or mental illness and extended absenteeism. With no guidance, employees and employers are left feeling confused with no coping strategies or plans. Most managers do not have the training or skills to help support employees through loss. I can help.
As a Certified Grief Specialist, I help others process and grow through their grief. I have experienced my own grief in the workplace. I would like to share a personal experience of my own...
20 years ago, I experienced a complete breakdown of my family due to a prescription drug addiction by my husband at that time. I lacked support in the workplace and with raising my two daughters. These prolonged periods of grief made life very challenging. Instead of receiving emotional support, I only felt judged. This directly resulted in an emotional breakdown in front of my unsupportive boss and an extended period of sick leave. This was not healthy for myself, and it contributed to a feeling of a toxic working environment. I am sure there are still many stories like mine today.
In 2011, I lost my partner, Barry to suicide. By this time, I had advanced myself professionally and was now a Senior Account Manager. My experience this time with grief in the workplace was very different and my employer was very supportive of my time off to grieve. This helped me feel supported and valued, so I devoted myself to moving forward the best I could and returned to the workplace. I was not perfect in terms of productivity with brain fog, but one day at a time it started to get a little better. After returning to work, my colleagues were very distant and awkward towards me, and I suspect the way Barry died was an impacting factor. Perhaps if my colleagues had some training in grief and mental illness, this would not have happened. I lasted 10 months, feeling support from my current boss but isolated from the company. Maybe the outcome could have been different. Grief changes everything. I understand firsthand why it is so important to support our employees, clients, and colleagues through grief in the workplace.
I am inviting you to invite myself, Linda Marshall, Certified Grief Specialist, Life/Relationship Coach, Master ASIST Trainer (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills) into your workspace for a ‘GRIEF Talk’. Your employees, colleagues, and even clients will feel supported and valued, especially during these unprecedented times. We will explore today's challenges with grief in the workplace and obtain a better understanding with supporting strategies. Book now.
Virtual GRIEF Talks are usually 1.5 – 2.5 hours long over Zoom, or with your own technology. Once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, I would be available to train face to face.
More information about Grief Relief Co. at www.griefreliefcoaching.ca.
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