How to Deal with Death in the Workplace

Tips on Dealing with Grieving Coworkers & What You Can Do to Help

Lend a Helping Hand

Be willing to listen to Brenda during a lunch hour and on your own time. If you listen well, you may hear more clearly what she needs even when she is unable to articulate it. Understand that Brenda truly may not know what would be helpful. Those in the midst of great stress are often unable to look beyond the next hour, and she's holding down what may be the equivalent of two full-time jobs right now. Simply completing immediate tasks may require an inordinate amount of her energy. Planning ahead into an uncertain future may appear fruitless or impossible. So be specific in your offers, such as "Brenda, it must be difficult to take care of some of your basic errands right now, and I'd really like to help you with that. Can I save you a trip to the grocery this week?" Or, "are you going to have time to drop off that report? I'd be happy to take care of that for you."

If you're able to enlist volunteer workers, realize also that, to Brenda, help will be most helpful if it doesn’t intrude inside the home. Offer to organize help for outdoor yard tasks such as raking, mulching, lawn care or gutter cleaning. If you get a "no thank you," offer again in a couple of weeks as Brenda's needs and willingness to accept help may change with time.