Dealing With Loss In The Workplace: How To Maintain Professionalism And Productivity

In the workplace, it’s normal to experience loss at some point in your career. Whether it’s a co-worker who leaves your department or a project that winds up being canceled, there are times when you’ll need to adjust and adapt. 

In these situations, grief can affect not only your emotions but also your work performance which is why it’s crucial to know how to handle loss professionally as an employee.

Grief in the Workplace
Key Takeaways
Dealing with grief and loss in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s important to prioritize self-care and seek support from colleagues and managers.
Building a support system and finding strength in community can make a big difference in coping with grief and loss.
Navigating grief in the workplace requires empathy, patience, and understanding from both employees and employers.
Practicing mindfulness and utilizing coping strategies can help manage difficult emotions and maintain productivity at work.
Employers can support grieving employees by offering flexible work arrangements, counseling services, and resources for managers and colleagues on how to provide support.

1. Set A Clear Start Date

Set a clear start date. Decide how long you will be out of the office and make sure that your team is aware of this information as well.

Prepare yourself mentally and physically to return to work after an extended absence through stress management, proper nutrition and exercise, getting enough sleep and rest, setting goals for when you return to work, making necessary preparations such as getting any equipment repaired or replaced before coming back (if applicable), etc.

Communicate with your team about when they can expect to see you again so that they have enough time to prepare themselves for your return.

Having a support system during times of grief is essential for healing. Check out our article on the power of a support system during times of grief to learn how it can help you cope and find comfort.” – The Power of a Support System During Times of Grief

2. Don’t Put Off Managing Your Workload

The second thing you can do to maintain your productivity and professionalism is not put off important tasks. 

Don’t let your inbox grow too large and it is okay if some emails get unanswered for a few days or even weeks. 

However, don’t let the number of unread emails pile up so high that you start to feel overwhelmed and are afraid to go back into your inbox because of how many emails there are waiting for you.

If this happens, then it might be time to take a look at the tools available within your workplace or online that will help manage your workload better. 

Some businesses have software that allows users to set up reminders in their calendars so they know when they need something done by (e.g., updating company documents). 

Other websites offer similar services but may require more customization depending on what type of work needs done by employees such as managing scheduling conflicts between team members who have overlapping schedules.

PrioritizeIdentify and focus on tasks that are urgent or have closer deadlines.
Create a Task ListMake a list of all the tasks you need to complete and prioritize them based on their importance.
Break Down Tasks into Smaller ChunksDivide large tasks into smaller, more manageable parts to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
Avoid MultitaskingFocus on one task at a time to avoid distractions and improve productivity.
Take BreaksTake regular breaks to avoid burnout and improve focus.

3. Check Your Inbox

Check your inbox regularly. If you’re a manager or employee, then this might be the most difficult thing to remember at first. But if you can’t get your work done if the mountain of emails in your inbox keeps piling up, then it’s time to get organized and start dealing with those emails immediately.

Reply promptly! The more quickly you reply to someone about an email, the better chance there is that they’ll remember how responsive and helpful you were when it comes time for performance reviews and raises.

Keep it clean! Dealing with loss in the workplace means keeping things tidy as well as professional—take out any trash that may have accumulated in your inbox over time, delete old messages or move them into folders if they’re not relevant anymore (and archive anything really sensitive), and make sure there aren’t any spammy links mixed in with legitimate messages so people don’t accidentally click on them while reading their emails at work.

Navigating grief in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s important to find ways to cope and move forward. Our practical guide on navigating grief in the workplace offers helpful tips and strategies for managing grief while maintaining professionalism.” – Navigating Grief in the Workplace: A Practical Guide

4. Take Care Of Yourself

Eat healthy and get enough sleep.

Take time off when you need it, whether that means an hour or a week. It’s important to recharge your batteries so that you can work at full capacity when it is most needed.

Seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed by the loss of someone close to you. An outside perspective may be helpful in getting through this difficult time, especially if family and friends are not supportive or don’t understand what they can do to help you cope with such a loss.

Exercise is another great tool for managing stress and anxiety; it releases endorphins into the bloodstream that make people feel better about themselves as well as their surroundings. 

You’ll also notice less tension in your neck and shoulders if exercise becomes part of your daily routine during stressful times like these plus, exercising will help improve circulation throughout the body (which makes for clearer thinking), 

burn off some of those extra calories from eating comfort food since we tend to eat when we’re stressed out (not always good!), relieve menstrual cramps or PMS symptoms due to hormonal fluctuations associated with grief recovery…the list goes on!

Self-Care Strategies

Get Enough SleepAim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to improve your overall health and productivity.
Exercise RegularlyPhysical activity can boost your mood, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function.
Eat a Balanced DietEating a well-balanced diet can improve your mood, energy levels, and overall health.
Practice MindfulnessEngage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as meditation or yoga.
Seek SupportReach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for emotional support.

5. Find Support Outside Of Work

When you are facing a significant life event, it’s important to find people who understand. You can find support groups in your community or online. Talking with friends and family, who may not be experiencing the same thing as you but still want to help, is also helpful in dealing with loss.

If you’re struggling emotionally or finding it difficult to function at work, consider seeking professional help through employee assistance programs (EAPs) or other counseling options. 

If an EAP is available at your company, ask human resources about its availability and whether there are any limitations on eligible employees using the program (for example: only certain types of employees). 

Human resources should also be able to provide details on what the program entails and how much time off from work is required to participate if necessary.

If no EAP exists at your workplace but one does exist nearby that offers similar services, ask if they’ll provide counseling at a discounted rate for employees from another company (you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket). In some cases this may be possible and worth exploring!

“Managing grief and loss at work can be overwhelming, but it’s crucial to take care of yourself and seek support. Check out our article on 15 tips for managing grief and loss at work to learn practical strategies for coping and staying productive.” – 15 Tips for Managing Grief and Loss at Work

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help In The Workplace

While you may be uneasy about asking for help, it’s important to know that your manager and coworkers are there to support you. If your job is affected by the loss of a loved one, ask them how they can help you get through this difficult time.

If they aren’t sure how to help, ask HR or another employee in the office if they can refer someone who is more experienced in dealing with workplace grief situations. 

You should also consider contacting a local counseling service or even seeking out professional advice from a friend or family member who has been through what you have experienced and knows what it feels like.

7. Use Business Tools To Keep On Top Of Tasks And Projects

Once you have created the task list and prioritized them, you need to make sure that the tasks are being completed. If a colleague is working on a task, you will want to know when they are finished with it so that you can move onto the next task. 

To do this, consider using project management software. There are many such tools available online and they allow users to create work-related tasks and then assign them to colleagues who can then complete them.

When it comes time for your team members’ projects or tasks to be completed by other people in your company (or outside agencies), project management software will help keep everything organized and ensure that everyone stays on track with their responsibilities. 

For example: if someone needs an image file for a presentation but does not know where it is located due to disorganization among departments within an organization; using project management software allows one person from each department involved in producing such presentations at different times throughout

“Finding support and understanding at work after a loss can make a big difference in your healing journey. Our article on finding support and understanding at work after a loss provides helpful tips and advice on how to seek support and communicate with your colleagues.” – Finding Support and Understanding at Work After a Loss

8. Speak To Your Coworkers About Changes In Your Behavior

If you’re having a hard time, it may be tempting to hide your feelings from colleagues and friends. However, if you don’t let them in on what’s going on, they won’t know how best to support you through this difficult time.

It’s okay to be sad—and angry, too. Just because someone has passed away doesn’t mean that their death was expected or preventable (e.g., car accidents). 

If anything, the shock of losing a loved one can make people feel even more upset and angry than they otherwise would have been as they process their feelings over time without guidance or support from others around them.

You may have trouble focusing at work during this period because of what happened during the weekend; this is normal and expected! 

Your emotions might also get in the way of getting any real work done at first; again, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help from colleagues when needed—especially since many companies offer paid bereavement leave as part of their benefits package anyway!

Tips for Communicating with Coworkers About Changes in Your Behavior

Choose a Time and PlaceSchedule a time to talk when you and your coworker are free from distractions and can speak privately.
Be HonestExplain the changes in your behavior and how they are impacting your work. Be honest about what you need to improve.
Listen to Their PerspectiveAllow your coworker to share their thoughts and feelings about the situation.
Brainstorm SolutionsWork together to develop a plan to address the changes in your behavior and how to maintain professionalism and productivity.
Follow UpCheck in with your coworker regularly to ensure your plan is working and make necessary adjustments.

9. Remember That It Will Get Better, And Easier Over Time

The grief process is a roller coaster. There will be days where you will feel like you’re making progress, and then there will be days when it feels like nothing has changed. The most important thing to remember is that it gets easier with time. 

As much as it may hurt to hear or read this sentence right now, I promise it’s true. You have already come so far in your recovery that sometimes we don’t even realize how far we’ve come until we look back on those dark days from a distance of some months or even years later!

It’s easy for us to compare ourselves to others who are going through similar experiences, but remember that everyone grieves differently and at their own pace don’t be discouraged if someone else seems more “together” than you do in your personal life or at work. You are stronger than you think you can get through this!

“Self-care is an essential part of managing grief in the workplace. Check out our article on the role of self-care in managing grief at work to learn practical strategies for taking care of yourself while navigating difficult emotions.” – The Role of Self-Care in Managing Grief at Work

10. Utilize Your Vacation Days If You Need Them

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a vacation day. If you aren’t feeling overwhelmed, take a vacation day. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need to take a vacation day, then go ahead and do it!

It’s easy to feel guilty about taking time off when there is so much work to be done—but if your mental health is at stake, taking some time away from the office can be extremely beneficial for both your productivity and morale in the long-run.

11. Keep Important Projects Under Control With A Business Tool Or Management Software

Organizations, especially large ones, are most efficient when they have a plan. Without a solid plan to follow, it’s easy for things to get out of control. 

Project management software can help you keep track of your projects and ensure that they make progress toward completion on time. 

As long as you know how to use the software effectively and are able to stay organized with it, it will improve your productivity as well as your ability to manage more projects at once.

You can find project management tools online or through various software applications available for purchase. Try searching “project management software” into Google search — there are many options available!

12. Manage Your Meetings So That You Are Prepared And Feel Ready To Take Them On And Excel At Them

When you’re dealing with the loss of a colleague, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unprepared. You’ll likely have to take on extra responsibilities and meetings that were previously shared. 

It’s important to prepare for these meetings so that you can excel at them.

Keeping track of your calendar is an essential part of your daily routine and will help you stay organized during this difficult time. Make sure to schedule important meetings as soon as possible so that there is plenty of time for preparation and you don’t leave anything out by accident. 

If there are any changes or additions needed from other people involved in the meeting, make sure they know about them in advance so that everyone is prepared when they arrive at the meeting room.

When speaking with someone on the phone or via email, be aware of their tone so that it doesn’t come across as rude or condescending if they ask questions about something specific (e.g., “I’m sorry if this seems like an obvious question but what does ‘X’ mean?”). 

This will also help build trust between both parties which can lead up through future projects together.”


Remember, it’s okay to feel sad or stressed out at work. Everybody goes through this, and everybody understands. 

The key is to talk about your feelings with someone you trust and respect. Don’t let yourself be isolated from other people in the process—they can help you through this difficult time!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on dealing with grief and loss in the workplace:


What is grief in the workplace?

Grief in the workplace refers to the experience of mourning and loss among employees and colleagues. It can be triggered by a variety of events, such as the death of a coworker or a personal loss that affects job performance.

How can I support a grieving colleague?

To support a grieving colleague, it’s important to listen, be patient, and offer empathy and support. You can also offer practical assistance, such as covering their workload or helping them communicate with others at work.

How can grief impact productivity at work?

Grief can impact productivity at work by causing emotional distress and cognitive difficulties, such as difficulty concentrating or making decisions. It can also result in physical symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia, which can affect work performance.

How can I maintain professionalism while grieving at work?

To maintain professionalism while grieving at work, it’s important to communicate with your colleagues and managers, take time off when necessary, and seek support from others. You can also prioritize self-care and utilize coping strategies, such as mindfulness or therapy.

How can employers support grieving employees?

Employers can support grieving employees by offering bereavement leave, flexible work arrangements, and access to counseling or support groups. They can also provide resources and training to managers and colleagues on how to support grieving employees.