Grieving in the workplace – WorkWise

Most of us have lost a loved one at some point in our lives. But did you ever consider that workplaces suffer “losses” as well? When a fellow worker leaves due to illness, relocation to work in another area, or even retirement, it still feels like a loss to those left behind at the workplace and often to those leaving. And it does feel just like someone has died.

Workers who faced job terminations and layoffs this past couple of years left with the same feeling. Their sense of purpose and self-esteem went with them. And their “work families” were left behind feeling shocked, angry, worried, vulnerable, and guilty. Employers who had to downsize likely faced real issues with their remaining workers, especially if the one who left was popular.

When I interviewed people about their retirement a couple years ago, I was surprised to hear how much of their identity was tied up with where they worked and what job they did. Even though all were leaving by choice, they were surprised by the sense of loss they felt. Their connection to the worksite was gone and so was some of their sense of identity. One retiree told me that she was not prepared for the depth of loss she felt leaving her co-workers behind.

Co-workers left behind suffer as well. Whether the leaving is by choice or not, the “loss” of a well-liked co-worker throws everything out of balance. And the dynamics of the workplace change greatly when someone new comes on board. It can be pure anxiety and stress for everyone.

Employers would do well to recognize how the loss of a co-worker affects the remaining staff members. Losing a friend and workmate is a double whammy, especially if the office is closely knit. It can take a lot of time to build a relationship with a newcomer. It may also take the office time to recover and make a successful adjustment.

Being sensitive to staff feelings is an important skill in being a good employer and recognizing that staff may need time to come to terms with loss is essential.

Just Posted

Stettler students have fun with humour

Christ-King Catholic School holds variety show

RCMP investigate break-in and theft from Coronation tow yard

Towing supplies, bolt cutters and a red Honda generator were stolen sometime between May 10 and 13

Trial for man accused of 2006 Eckville murder “unreasonably delayed”

Lacombe’s Shayne Gulka is awaiting trial for the 2006 murder of Bradley Webber

Clearview Public Schools approves Gus Wetter trip to Dominican Republic

Trustees also approved a draft calendar for the 2019-2020 school year during the May 10 meeting

UPDATE: Puppies rescued at structure fire in Lacombe

The Bentley Fire Department assisted Lacombe in a structure fire where crews saved some puppies

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

Teen must repay $37M for starting Oregon wildfire

A teenager who started a major wildfire in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution

Canada’s G7 goal on development: luring private capital to poor nations

G7 finance and international development ministers convene in British Columbia next week

Congressional leaders to review information on Russia probe

Trump said he will “demand” that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign

Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.