Program aims to empower companies to assist with grief
Woolwich & Wellesley Township's Local Community Newspaper | Elmira, Ontario, Canada
Help
Follow

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Program aims to empower companies to assist with grief

Dealing with a grieving employee or co-worker is a struggle that long predates the pandemic – people have always had to cope with the death of a loved one. It’s a situation that remains awkward to this day.

As with many of us, most companies and businesses handle the reality of death just as poorly and awkwardly as most people do when someone dies, regardless of whether that loss involves an employee or an employee’s loved one.

With that in mind, Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region (BFO-MR) has launched a new education program – Grief At Work – in hopes of creating workplaces more empathetic to employees experiencing personal loss.

The idea for the program started well before the pandemic, says Jaime Bickerton, the organization’s executive director, adding the current situation creates problems of its own.

“It’s been a couple of years in the making. Through some of our grief support groups, we were hearing about people returning to work after they had experienced the death of someone in their lives, and it not being a very positive experience for them, both  in how they are received by their coworkers and in how they were expected to go back to work at the same levels as they had prior to their loss,” she said.

“At that point, we identified that there was definitely some work we could be doing in terms of educating employers and coworkers about what they’re [colleagues] might be experiencing. Over the last couple of years, we’ve also as an organization really ramped up the grief literacy work that we do in general, and this kind of aligned perfectly with that piece of our work.”

The Grief At Work program looks to support businesses and organizations to gain a better

understanding of grief, take away tangible tools and strategies they can apply in the workplace, and learn how to create a culture of compassion that promotes empathy and understanding.

“Talking about grief is tough. Add the complexities of relationship dynamics and teams working remotely and those conversations are even more difficult to navigate,” said Bickerton.

BFO-MR’s Grief at Work program features education sessions that can be presented virtually or in-

person. Businesses can purchase a one-off session or choose from a variety of package options. Sessions allow employers to:

Understand how grief shows up in the workplace and what accommodations can be put in place for employees;

Consider the potential impact of reduced productivity and efficiency;

Give their teams tools to support co-workers when they return after a death;

Learn how to address isolation in grief and increase connectivity, particularly when teams are working from home;

Gain knowledge of additional resources and supports in community.

“We’re trying to be a little bit proactive with this, reaching out to employers before they’re having to support their teams so that they have the tools and the strategies in place to respond with empathy at the time instead of kind of reacting to what’s happening and scrambling at the last minute. We almost looked at it as preventative workplace well being,” said Bickerton.

Empathy, patience and a willingness to engage with someone experiencing loss go a long way. Don’t avoid the subject, she advises.

“Have an awareness that this person is coming back to work and is still grieving the person who died. Just because they’re kind of going back to normal routines, it doesn’t mean what they’re experiencing is over. Have an awareness to that grief comes in waves, so they might be OK for the first few weeks, but there will be circumstances or events that will bring their grief back to them – just to be empathetic to that experience.”

More information about Bereaved Families of Ontario – Midwestern Region’s programs can be found online.

A little more local for your inbox.

Seven days. One newsletter. Local reporting about people and places you
won't find anywhere else. Stay caught up with The Observer This Week.

Enter your email to subscribe. Unsubscribe anytime. We may send you promotional messages.
Please read our privacy policy.

Total
1
Shares



Related Posts
Total
1
Share