How To Support A Grieving Coworker After A Loss

Posted on March 20, 2023 by Maine Cremation Care under Mourning
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Death is an unavoidable part of life, and it’s easy to feel helpless when someone we care about experiences a loss. However, as coworkers, we can do our best to provide support and understanding in a time of grief. Here are some tips from Maine Cremation Care for supporting grieving coworkers and helping them through this difficult time.

How To Support A Grieving Coworker

Keep reading to learn how to support a grieving coworker after they’ve experienced a loss. 

Acknowledge Their Return To The Workplace  

When your coworker returns to the workplace, tell them you are happy they’re back. A simple “Welcome back! We’re so glad you’re here” can go a long way toward making them feel supported and appreciated. It’s important not to avoid or ignore your coworker when they return and to include them in the same types of jokes and conversations as before.  

Show Your Support  

Let your coworker know you care about them and want to be there for them in any way possible. This could be something as simple as offering a hug or being available if they need someone to talk to. Let your coworker know you are willing to listen if they want to speak about their loss. Talking about loss can be a difficult and vulnerable experience, so be sure not to pressure them or make them feel like they need to share any details. 


Checking In Regularly

Offer to check in with your coworker regularly during their grieving process, even if it’s just sending an email or the occasional text message. Knowing someone is thinking of them can help make the grieving process easier.

Offer Practical Assistance  

It’s often difficult to know what to say when someone is grieving, but supportive gestures can make a huge difference. Ask your coworker what practical things you can do to help make the grieving process easier for them. This could include offering rides to appointments, running errands, helping with meals, sitting in silence, or offering temporary childcare assistance if needed. Such gestures can help your coworker feel supported and less alone during a difficult time. 


Give Your Coworker A Meaningful Sympathy Gift

If you are close with your coworker, consider giving them a small sympathy gift. This could be anything from flowers with a  meaningful card, a piece of jewelry with a special symbol that reminds your coworker of their loved one, or even just framing a photo of their loved one. This can create physical reminders that can help coworkers feel like they are being remembered and honored. 


Additionally, create a meaningful gift basket for your coworker that contains items that can bring comfort during their time of loss. The items in the gift could include things like scented candles, books to read, aromatherapy items, tea or coffee, cozy blankets, or slippers. Anything you can do to bring moments of soothing and happiness during this difficult time will be greatly appreciated.

Respect Their Boundaries  

Everyone grieves differently, so it’s important to respect your coworker’s boundaries when it comes to how they handle their grief. Don’t pressure them into doing anything they don’t want or need, and allow them room and time to grieve in their own way and at their own pace. 


Be Patient & Understanding  

Grief is a complex emotion that takes time and patience, both from those going through it and those supporting them through it. It’s important to understand that grief is physical, and your coworker may be forgetful or take longer to complete tasks than they usually do. This is normal as they settle into a new “normal” without their loved one. Be patient, and let your coworker know you are willing to help.


Give Them Grace  

Finally, give your coworker grace during this trying time, even if their decisions might not make sense from an outsider’s perspective. Everyone grieves differently, so don’t expect things from your coworker that may be unreasonable given the circumstances of their loss.


Supporting a grieving colleague is never easy, but there are ways we can show our compassion, understanding, respect, and love during this difficult time. Taking these steps will ultimately help bring comfort and healing during this challenging period of transition and growth. By providing genuine empathy and care within the workplace environment, we can assist our colleagues as they navigate through grief while still maintaining necessary job functions and duties throughout the journey. Thank you for taking the time to read through these ideas on how we can all show compassion and kindness toward our colleagues during times of despair.


Do you know a coworker who has gone through a recent loss and needs help planning afterlife care? Maine Cremation Care in Gorham, Maine, takes pride in assisting families throughout Maine as they navigate grief and loss. Our locally-owned business offers inclusive cremation packages and urns at cost-competitive prices. Head to our website to learn more, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram

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