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Are You Prepared to Handle Post-Pandemic Grief in the Workplace?

We applaud the needed progress in advancing bereavement leave for grieving employees, but Dora Carpenter asks, "Are you comfortable in handling the 'human response' when that colleague returns to the office?"

Does Your Workplace Reflect and Support a Compassionate and Grief-Informed Workplace Culture?  Grief Sensitivity Training Can Help.

"Helping Break the Silence of Grief in the Workplace"

“… we are doing all of this mourning at the office—whether in the Zoom calls and Slack chats conduct​ed from the kitchen tables and bedroom desks of those who can work from home, or in the grocery stores and hospitals and schools where essential workers are expected to be physically present every day. Yet most employers aren’t prepared to manage any of this grief, many experts warn—or the corresponding stress, anxiety, burnout, and widespread lack of productivity that is already sweeping across corporate America, and that will overshadow the workforce for years to come.” ~~ The biggest risk in business right now is grief, Maria Aspan, Fortune.com, September 27, 2020

In addition to Employee Assistance Program (EAP) referrals, does your organization compassionately support grieving employees from a human response perspective? Do you know what to say and what not to say to an employee experiencing a loss? Are you aware of the grief-related losses to your company’s bottom line? Are you allowing the occasion of grief to negatively affect employee morale and retention? Does your organization have a compassionate director, grief coach, or compassion partner on staff?  No matter the size or type of organization, at some point grief will directly or indirectly affect your workplace. You are not exempt.  

"For every COVID-19 death, about nine Americans will lose a grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse, or child." ~~ Tracking the reach of COVID-19 kin loss with a bereavement multiplier applied to the United States, Ashton M. Verdery, July 28, 2020.


“Grief after the death of a loved one inevitable follows people to work, where employers and co-workers often are unprepared to handle the immediate sorrow or the surges of pain that ambush mourners at milestones like birthdays and holidays. Some of the shortcomings can be linked to insufficient bereavement leave policies, but often what fails is the human response to a suffering colleague.” ~~ As baby boomers age, ‘we are in for a death boom.’ Grief expert urges support for mourning workers. Alexia-Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribute, January 3, 2019


“For the past century, Americans’ response to grief has been to minimize its impact and suppress the emotional pain. We treat grieving as an individual affair, with mourners responsible for “getting over” their losses, mostly in private… Everyone eventually loses someone dear, some of us sooner rather than later. Mourners’ unexpressed distress can manifest in them physically and in their interactions with others – in how they work, raise children and create policy. Validating and supporting the bereaved at the time of loss is not just the compassionate thing to do – it’s a necessary investment in the collective good.” ~~ Pandemic grief could become its own health crisis. Lochlan Donald, The Washington Post. February 26, 2021


“Even in the wake of Covid-19, I find the conversation around grief and loss in the workplace lacking. Few companies have truly publicly acknowledged the devastating loss of this past year and its impact on employees.” ‘ ~~ How The Pandemic Has Exposed The Gap in Bereavement Support. Katie Lynch Forbes Councils Member, May 24, 2021

“The COVID-19 pandemic is easing up, but the grief crisis doesn’t end as we adjust to the ‘new normal.’ Grief resulting from the pandemic is devastating and complex on many levels,” said Dora Carpenter, Founder of the Institute of Professional Grief Coaching. “The spectrum of loss is huge and the long-lasting ripple effects can’t be avoided or left at the threshold when entering the office door. Grief resulting from any loss, if not addressed, not only affects the physical, emotional, social and functional well-being of employees, but also co-workers, teams and the overall organization.” ~~ Press Release June 24, 2021

Our Workplace Grief Workshop is Accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF)

Find Out More and Register for an Upcoming Workplace Grief Workshop

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