Going back to work after loss

Typically you may not feel like returning to work after the death of a loved one. While some people resume their daily routine, many grieving men and women find it difficult to resume their daily routine professionally. We are sharing some of the key considerations when resuming work after loss.

Informing co-workers

Usually you will take leave due to the death, and the Human resources (HR) department or manager will be informed. Before returning to the workplace, it is advisable to discuss whether the co-workers should be informed about the death. Informing the co-workers may help prevent them from asking questions which may upset you. You could ask the manager or HR to inform your co-workers whether they should or should not mention the death, based on how it has affected you. This could make it easier to handle the death when you resume working, so that you are less likely to feel upset.

Handling small talk

At most workplaces there is a lot of small talk as colleagues inquire about each other, especially if a person is on leave. If you are mourning the death of a person you loved, you may find it difficult to answer these questions, they may bring back painful memories. To handle this it is better to note down some replies to these questions to change the topic. It is better to ask people about their own life, so that you do not have to answer questions about yourself.

Remaining focused at work

A person who is grieving often finds it difficult to concentrate on his work. In some cases, it may be difficult to complete even simple tasks and projects. You may become forgetful, get easily distracted since your attention span is greatly reduced. It is advisable to use personal organisers, make lists of work to be done, items required, to remain productive. For better time management, it is advisable to divide the work assigned to smaller tasks, which will take less time, and ensure that these tasks are completed. It is also better to take a short break from work periodically, typically hourly so that you feel refreshed and do not feel distracted

Find a place where you can be alone

In some cases, the memories of the bereavement may make you panic or cry. Instead of disturbing others, it is recommended that you find a place where you are alone. If you do not have a private office, you may find an empty meeting or other room, go to the bathroom or spend time outdoors. If these options are not available, you may ask your manager for help.

Some mistakes are expected

Even under the best working conditions, it is difficult for a person who is grieving to remain productive. The emotional trauma caused by the death can adversely affect your concentration, quality of the work you do and additional stress may result in mistakes. So you as well as your manager should be prepared for the mistakes, decline in productivity, and it is advisable to ask a coworker to cross-check the work you do.

Communicate with your manager

It is advisable to communicate regularly with your manager, employer, HR to let them know if you require any additional assistance.