Originally published on Alexander Gladney’s website.
Death is rarely predictable and, sadly, a common part of life. We all know someone who has at some point in their lives been forced to deal with the death of a family member or a close friend.
Whether your company is large or small, it is inevitable that your employees will eventually need to ask for bereavement leave during their time at your company in order to attend the deceased’s funeral services and, more importantly, to give themselves time to grieve without the distractions of work weighing heavily on their shoulders.
Giving your employee the proper amount of time to mourn and attend to this time of loss is simple. However, many employers are uncertain as to how to handle their employee’s transition back into the workplace. Even if they are ready to get back to their normal schedule, it may still be some time before the pain and grief of tragedy subside.
Extend some kindness to your employees by supporting them once they are back from their bereavement leave:
Be more flexible with minor mistakes.
Upon returning, your employee will need some time in order to gain their momentum back. They may experience decreased levels of energy and productivity throughout the day, which means their work is more susceptible to minor mistakes. Being empathetic to these mistakes throughout their first couple of days back will be beneficial to their future success because you are showing them how much you value them as part of the company.
Make yourself available.
When an employee returns from bereavement leave, they are attempting to readjust to their normal routine again. As necessary as this is, it is also extremely challenging. Make yourself available to them if they need to talk – but don’t offer up advice, just give them the floor to speak.
Build a supportive company culture.
Coming back from a time of grief is difficult, but it becomes easier when both the company leader and their employees have cultivated a supportive culture within the workspace. When other members of the team not only share their empathy with the grieving employee but offer up assistance where necessary, it helps to ease up any tension and creates a family-like environment.