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Tips for dealing with grief at work as an employee

Funeral plan specialist, Perfect Choice, looks at grief as an employee...

When you lose a loved one it can be hard to think about what to do next. Work is probably the last thing on your mind and you may be worried about how you will react when you return to work. You may worry that your boss will not be compassionate or that you’ll have to return before you’re ready.

You should feel 100% ready to return to work and not feel pressured into returning by anyone, if you do it could lead to unnecessary extra anguish. Here are some things to remember when you’re facing a bereavement at work.

1. Focus on yourself

Now is the time to truly focus on yourself and your well-being. You’ll be allowed a certain number of paid bereavement days, as set out in your company’s policy. You may also be entitled to extra unpaid leave, this is something you’ll need to discuss with your manager. It doesn’t have to be in person but make sure you agree a suitable method of contact.

If you feel like you are not coping then don’t be afraid to tell your manager. If you need to spend several days at home, then arrange for this to happen. Just ensure that you don’t shut yourself away from those who want to help. Talking about the situation with those close to you can reduce some of the emotional weight. Try not to worry about any deadlines at work and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

2. Keep busy

If you have several days at home, it’s a good idea to try and push yourself to take some action. If you are back at work following bereavement leave then keeping your mind busy will seem hard but can help with the coping process. If you can focus on working hard on a project then it will take away the attention from your loss and sadness. 

3. Think of your loved one

Think of what your loved one would say to you. They would likely not want you to dwell on your grief. Imagine they are pushing you to succeed and honour them by doing so.  Remember that you do not want to waste your own life not doing things you love. These thoughts are quite common after losing a loved one.

You may feel that the mundane details at work are no longer important. You may think about making some serious changes in your life like a new job or moving somewhere new. It’s highly recommended by experts to not make any major life changing decisions during periods of grief because it could be something you later regret.

4. Keep in contact

It is important to keep in contact with your workplace during your bereavement leave so they can organise work cover and so they know how you are and when you are likely to return to work. Remember they will be concerned about you, so do not forget to keep them updated. If you feel uncomfortable talking about the death then tell your colleagues/manager that you’d rather not discuss it. People will be considerate of your feelings and keep conversations work based.

The most important thing is to remember that you are not alone, your workplace should be understanding in their provisions for you during your period of grief at this point and also in the future.

Perfect Choice Funeral Plans is a trading name of Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited Reg. No. 2644860 which is registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ.
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