After losing for a year, grief support should be a permanent benefit
Author : Kazuyoshi Sanwa | Published On : 24 Sep 2021
For the 52 million people who have suffered losses in the pandemic, returning to work means a lot of sadness. Workers have discovered greater resilience than many people have imagined-but when the social distancing norms are relaxed, grief will not disappear.
Employers are now exploring how to manage grief in the workplace, trying to understand how to best support their employees, who may turn from grief in private to grief in a public environment.
As experts in grief work and those who lost their parents at a young age, we are committed to changing the way we approach, discuss and support others in grief. Here are some of the best ways to do this.
1. Directly address grief at work
Managing grief in the workplace can be difficult. You must be sensitive and don't let people go beyond the scope of what they are prepared to discuss. And you must be fully prepared to help employees deal with things that affect them emotionally, physically, financially, and socially. But employers do not need to hesitate on the topic of grief, death and loss; dealing with grief and death openly is of great benefit to the company and its employees.
Of course, these subjects should be respected and sympathized, and sensitivity to employee losses should be a priority. But employees should also have the opportunity to talk frankly about their experiences and needs.
When you return to work, communicate with your employees and you understand that the sad journey will be continuous and long-term for many people. To help facilitate these discussions, please organize individual one-on-one chats and group spaces to deal with grief. In addition, to formulate policies and benefits, your employees can refer to or ask questions at any time.
As a leader, understand that grief at work can be very frustrating for employees; when team members’ output is different from usual, they may feel inadequate. Help your employees do their best by getting feedback and requests for additional support they may need.
2. Review your bereavement policy
No matter how resilient your employees are, they still need time to heal and they also need sad support. This can come in the form of your official policy guidelines and additional bereavement benefits or resources you may provide.
Know who in your company can manage how you deal with grief as an employer. They should have information about the tools of the equipment manager, your position on the bereavement policy, and adjustments that may need to be made after working for the pandemic for a year or more.
Oceana Sawyer is a guide for dying doula and grief. She said that employers should provide grief support through grief counseling and other benefits. There will be specific grief times in the first and second years after the loss, and designated rest periods on working days are allowed. Employees leave their desks and take care of themselves. She also recommends hiring a grief expert as a tailor-made resource, who can work with the leader to develop a strategic plan to help employees cope with losses.
When examining how your company responds to losses, you need to consider the following questions:
Does your policy clearly state what employees can spend their time on and when they can use it?
If employees do not use bereavement leave immediately before or after losing a loved one, can they use bereavement leave on mental health days related to grief?
How does your policy support caregivers before and after death?
What mental health benefits do you cover? Does the provider have expertise in grief treatment? What are your benefits for post-mortem logistics (for example, funeral planning, legal support, childcare)?
What is your work-from-home policy and how does it work in the lives of grieving employees?
What training or training can be available to managers or employees who are unable to discuss grief or loss?
3. Create inclusive and accessible practices
Megan Sherman, co-founder and creative director of Be Ceremonial, stated that companies should focus on creating dialogues, spaces and practices that support grieving employees. This may involve activities and opportunities open to the entire team, one-to-one communication between managers and direct reports, or practices that employees can carry out on their own time. We have many ways to commemorate the loss, so be creative and find a way that suits the needs of your company and employees.
It is important to consider the cultural or religious customs that people may have used to mourn. Some people will not participate either because it is not culturally suitable for them, they are not interested, or because the work does not feel like a safe space. All of this is okay; most importantly, you can provide products when employees need them.
Shelton proposed some other concrete and concrete methods to create these inclusive spaces. She recommends hiring a sad professional or emcee to help your team deal with the changes brought about by sadness. You can also consider holding one-time or regular gatherings so that employees can share their lost and sad experiences, and hold a vigil to commemorate any employees or colleagues lost during the pandemic. Finally, she pointed out the value of encouraging employees to log and reflect on their own after failure.
It is crucial to ensure that all activities, spaces and practices are secular and neutral in order to avoid grief exclusively in any way. Expand the choice of digital and face-to-face resources as part of efforts to ensure that grief supports inclusiveness. The most important thing is to realize that everyone’s grief is different from their grief process. Don’t use things like "We know everyone is doing..." or "I know we are all exhausted, sad, and stressed." Even if they are used as a unified attempt, these broad descriptions of sadness can be minimized The loss of personal experience and damage your efforts to make everyone’s grief welcome.
Long-term support for grieving employees
Although it is helpful and meaningful to provide grief support when employees return to the office, it is vital to continue this momentum in the months and years to come. No matter how tough your employees are, everyone needs grace and compassion when they suffer losses. Supporting grieving employees may be a challenge, but creating-and living out-a culture of care will ultimately help everyone recover and move forward together with greater resilience than before.