Grief is a universal emotion that we all experience at some point in our lives. It can be triggered by the loss of a loved one, a job, or even a significant change in our lives. The process of grieving can be challenging and overwhelming, making it difficult for individuals to cope with their emotions.

As an employer, it is crucial to recognise and support employees who are going through grief. This is especially important during Grief Awareness Week, which takes place annually in the first week of December.

 What is Grief Awareness Week?

This week marks National Grief Awareness Week which was first observed in 2014 by the Good Grief Trust charity in the UK. It aims to raise awareness and support for individuals who are grieving and provide education on grief and its impact on mental health. Since then, it has become an international movement that takes place every year during the first week of December. This designated week serves as a reminder to acknowledge and support those who are grieving in our communities, workplaces, and personal lives.

Why is it important to support employees with grief?

Grief can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. It can lead to feelings of sadness, isolation, anger, guilt, and even physical symptoms such as fatigue and loss of appetite. When an employee is going through grief, their productivity and performance at work may also be affected.

As an employer, showing support for your employees during this difficult time not only benefits them but also helps create a positive work culture where employees feel valued and supported. It can also help reduce the stigma surrounding grief and mental health, creating a more open and understanding workplace.

How can employers support employees with grief?

Create a safe space for employees to express their emotions

Encourage open communication and provide opportunities for employees to talk about their feelings. This can be done through one-on-one check-ins or group discussions where individuals can share their experiences. It is essential to listen without judgment and show empathy towards employees’ emotions.

Offer flexible working arrangements

Grieving individuals may need time off or reduced work hours to cope with their emotions and attend to personal matters. Providing flexibility in work schedules can help employees balance their personal and professional responsibilities during this challenging time. It also sends a message that their wellbeing is a priority.

Provide access to mental health resources

Grief can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health, and it is essential to provide support in this aspect as well. As an employer, you can offer access to counselling services or provide information on external resources such as grief support groups and hotlines. This can help employees seek the necessary support and cope with their grief.

Be understanding and accommodating

Grief is a highly individual experience, and everyone copes with it differently. It is crucial to be understanding of each employee’s unique situation and offer accommodations accordingly. This can include adjusting workloads or providing additional support during challenging times. Showing compassion and understanding can go a long way in supporting employees during their grieving process.

Grief Awareness Week serves as a reminder to support and show empathy towards those who are grieving. As employers, it is essential to recognise the impact of grief on individuals’ mental health and wellbeing and provide support accordingly.

By creating a safe and understanding workplace, you can help employees cope with their emotions and promote a positive work culture. Let us use this week as an opportunity to raise awareness, show support, and create a more compassionate society for those going through grief. 

So let’s come together as leaders, colleagues, friends, and family members to support each other during Grief Awareness Week and beyond. If you need any guidance on this please don’t hesitate to contact us at hello@hrrevolution.co.uk.