What You Need to Know About Dealing with Death in the Workplace


As an entrepreneur, you have probably planned for a number of contingencies. However, something you may not be prepared for is having one of your employees pass away. Even if this individual wasn’t someone you were especially close to, it can still be an intense blow for everyone in the company. Due to the impact of such a situation, here are some things you can do to ease the pain for everyone at work:

Come to Terms with Your Own Emotions

Death can be jarring for all individuals and so, you need to be careful about your emotions first. After all, it is up to you to lead the rest of your employees and to exhibit proper behavior. This is why it is important to take some time out and deal with your own feelings about the situation. There are a variety of ways to do this, including speaking to loved ones or even getting professional help in the form of a therapist. Only once you have come to terms with this ordeal should you address everyone else.

Provide an Outlet

It can be tempting to urge people to get back to work so that they can busy themselves and not be overwhelmed by grief. Nonetheless, you will need to give your employees time to process the news they have received. You should also understand that everyone grieves in their own way. So, in addition to crying, you should also expect outbursts of anger or shock over the next few days. As the boss, let your employees have different outlets to lean on. You can have meetings where everyone discusses their feelings or provide phone numbers or contact details of grief counselors. It is also a good idea to check in with each of your employees to make sure they are coping well.

Engage with the Family

As you can imagine, the family of the deceased will be going through a particularly difficult period. This is why it can be helpful to you, as well as your employees if you were to help out in some way. For instance, everyone can chip in so that you can pay a portion of the funeral or cremation services. You can also host a memorial service in honor of the deceased. It doesn’t matter how big or small the gesture is, just make sure that it eases the burden of the family in some way or another.

Move On Slowly

Since you are running a business, after all, it is not possible to dwell on this unfortunate situation for too long. Also, it can be helpful for your employees to slowly get back into the rhythm of things as well. One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to be delicate when passing around the work of your deceased employee. Furthermore, make sure that the person you hire to replace them is a good fit for the company during this particularly dark period.

In the end, you will find that only time will help you cope with the passing of an employee. Nonetheless, the tips mentioned above should help to ease things, at least a little.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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