How to Deal with Death in the Workplace

Tips on Dealing with Grieving Coworkers & What You Can Do to Help

Reach Out, Don't Disappear

A: Without knowing the medical facts of your co-worker's situation, I can tell you this: knowing that people are aware and that they care always beats feeling unnoticed and possibly ignored. Brenda doesn’t "forget" her husband's health battle during the workday, and when illness or death touches an office environment, compassion is always appropriate.

We work at our careers to enable a good and fulfilling life for ourselves and for our loved ones. That includes meaningful engagement with those in our circles. As a co-worker, Brenda inhabits one of your circles. There are many ways to be supportive of her situation without smearing professional boundaries.

Almost anything is better than nothing at all. When situated in a front row seat to another's tragedy, the instinct is often to avert one's eyes. The desire to avoid saying the wrong thing, while laudable, often renders would-be supporters speechless at a time when simple syllables of encouragement might be spirit sustaining. Don't be silent.