Grief is a complicated emotion that can affect productivity and morale in an office. The emotional toll that grief takes on employees has an impact of more than $75 billion per year, according to the Pittsburgh Business Times. When certain events occur, your employees may feel overwhelmed, and workplace wellness may plummet. Engaging the services of grief counselors to come to your workplace can assist employees in the grieving process so that the business does not lose continuity or productivity.

Reasons for Grief Counseling

You’ll have to use your best judgment to decide when a situation warrants a grief counselor, but there are certain circumstances in which a grief counselor can generally help your employees.

  • Death of an employee: When a colleague dies, it affects the entire workplace, and it’s important that employees be allowed to express their feelings about the loss. In addition to emotions regarding the death, there may be issues concerning necessary business decisions that must be made. You will need to process the logistics of the situation, such as reassigning work and hiring a replacement. You must deal with the business needs, even if it may appear cold and unfeeling to the employees who are experiencing more visceral emotions.
  • Accidents or tragic events that happen to an employee or family: There are times when a terrible event will occur within an employee’s family, and the impact will be felt at the workplace, as well. The work force may feel powerless to assist and need help in clarifying their thoughts concerning the situation.
  • Tragic events in the local community: There may be a tragic event that occurs in the local community that directly or indirectly impacts the workplace. Employees may have family or friends involved, and the stress and fear can bring work to a standstill.
  • Tragic world events: While an employee may not be directly impacted by a major global or national tragedy, there will be confusion, anger and a range of other emotions that will prevent people from properly concentrating on their jobs. Providing an outlet for employees to process their emotions will mean an easier transition back to business as usual.

Types of Grief Counseling

Grief counseling can be contracted through insurance providers or through companies that specialize in workplace wellness. Employees may require different types of grief counseling, but the benefit of speaking to an impartial, trained counselor should be emphasized. Unless all employees are of the same faith, counseling should be secular rather than faith-based.

  • Group meetings: When there is a death or tragic event that affects the workplace, it is a good idea to meet with the employees as a group to acknowledge the situation. If an employee has died, it may also be necessary to explain what measures will be taken to service customers.
  • One-on-one counseling: Some employees will need privacy to express their feelings. Having counselors that will meet individually with employees provides another layer of comfort for them.
  • Referral to off-site location: It’s important to respect privacy, and some employees may prefer a service that is away from the workplace.

When there is a tragic event that affects a work force either directly or indirectly, it is important for employers to acknowledge the event and help guide their employees toward resolution. Providing grief counseling in the workplace will assist in restoring the equilibrium to assist employees in moving forward.

Mary Parsons is retired from a 30-year career in the insurance industry. She worked in the claims department of a major insurance carrier as a claims adjuster, manager and a member of a catastrophe team. Since her retirement, she has developed a career as a freelance writer. As an insurance professional, she has been a contributor to several insurance websites.