So you’ve lost a work colleague. You may have had a close bond with them or they may have been your worst nemesis! How do you deal with grief in the workplace?

Many of us will experience sudden loss of a colleague at some time in our lives. In a  workplace it’s easy to be confused by how others are reacting, or not reacting, to this.

Considerate employers will allow time off for those wishing to attend the funeral and often it’s appropriate that there is a quick whip around to buy some flowers and a group card is sent to the family.

I was surprised and shocked at a former colleague’s lack of empathy and ruthlessness when a workmate recently died.  He was like a vulture at the empty desk snatching stationary hours after the news broke. He refused to chip in to buy some flowers, took time off to attend the funeral but went and played golf instead. He continued to trample over others feelings in the following weeks.

This was despite having after work drinks on Friday nights together for years and being ‘best’ buddies.

For those on the side lines watching what was a remarkably un-empathetic performance it was difficult not to make him wrong about how he was being.

I believe my former colleague may have ‘cut off’ his attachment quickly as he didn’t feel comfortable grieving. It was better for him to get on with life and not experience the loss and all the emotions that follow it. He simply wasn’t buying into the group’s sadness.

Let’s face it, we all grieve differently!

We really don’t know our work colleagues all that well. But allowing yourself to grieve, even for a work colleague, is natural and healthy.

How have you dealt with grief in the workplace?

Advertisements