Finding Support And Understanding At Work After A Loss

If you’ve recently lost someone close to you, work can be a confusing place. At the very least, it will likely be an uncomfortable experience. 

Your feelings of loss may prevent you from being your usual self, and it can take time for people around you to adjust as well. 

Still, there are steps that you can take to make working after a loss easier on both yourself and others in your office.

Dealing with loss and bereavement
Building a support system can make a big difference in coping with grief and loss.
Maintaining professionalism and productivity in the workplace while grieving can be challenging, but it’s important to take care of yourself and communicate with your coworkers and boss.
Offering support and flexibility to grieving employees can help create a compassionate workplace culture.
Grief is a natural response to loss and can be experienced in many different ways.
It’s important to take care of yourself while grieving, including finding healthy ways to manage stress and seeking support from others.

Take Care Of Yourself

You are going to need to take care of yourself while working through your grief. You will find that there is a lot of time and energy spent on taking care of others, but it’s important to remember that you are not immune to the loss. 

You may need some extra support from friends and family during this time, as well as a good therapist if you can afford one.

It is also important for you to be kind towards yourself, patient with yourself and remember that you are not alone both emotionally or physically in this process of recovery from your loss.

“Dealing with loss in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s important to maintain professionalism and productivity. Our practical guide provides helpful tips to help you navigate this difficult time.” – Dealing with Loss in the Workplace: How to Maintain Professionalism and Productivity

Tell People Close To You What’s Going On

It’s important to be honest with people you trust. They might not know what to say or do, but they will want to support you and help you through this difficult time.

It’s also important that you don’t try to hide the death of a loved one from your coworkers. This can lead to two things: feeling isolated and like no one knows what’s going on, or dealing with gossip at work about why you’re acting differently than usual. Neither of these situations is ideal!

If someone asks how you’re doing, don’t hesitate to tell them that someone died recently or share some details about what happened you never know when that kind of information will come in handy (for example: if there is an emergency).

If someone seems curious but doesn’t ask questions, then just say something like “I’m okay.” Keep in mind though that not everyone wants more information about your personal life so just because someone asks does not mean they want every detail!

Who To Tell
Family and close friends
Coworkers you are close to
Human resources department

Remember That You Might Be Extra Sensitive

You might be extra sensitive to the opinions of others. You might have trouble concentrating, feel irritable, or be more emotional. 

You might cry at the drop of a hat and for no apparent reason. If this is the case for you, it’s important that your colleagues don’t take it personally (or even if they do). 

They may not know what to say when they see your tears, but that doesn’t mean they have anything against you personally.

You’ll also find yourself having trouble with tasks that were once easy; the more familiar something is to us, the less we think about how to do it so our brains are free to focus on other things that require more attention and energy.

“Navigating grief in the workplace can be overwhelming, but our practical guide offers helpful advice on how to manage grief and loss while maintaining productivity and professionalism.” – Navigating Grief in the Workplace: A Practical Guide

Do Not Push Yourself Too Hard

Give yourself permission to take a break. Your colleagues, family and friends will understand if you need some time away from work and it can be a good idea to take advantage of their understanding! 

It’s okay to ask for help from your supervisor or team members in order to get through the initial stages of grief after a loss. 

Remember that this is normal and healthy, so there’s no need for guilt about taking care of yourself first.

Look out for warning signs that indicate when you might need more support than what you currently have available:

  • Increasingly negative thoughts about your job or colleagues
  • Loss of interest in activities used as coping mechanisms (e.g., exercise)
  • Feelings of isolation at work (or other places where people are not aware)

Find A Way To Remember Your Loved One Every Day

Your loved one should always be a part of your life, even if they’re no longer physically there. You can keep a photo or memento of them in your office to remind yourself that they are still a part of your life.

If you’re worried about coworkers seeing it, try keeping it out of sight on top or behind your desk. You could also bring something to work every day and put it on display. 

It will help other people understand what happened and why you need time off when needed.

Another way is by writing down their story in the form of a journal or scrapbook so that others can read about them later on too!

“Managing grief and loss at work can be challenging, but there are practical steps you can take to make the process easier. Check out our 15 tips for managing grief and loss at work to learn more.” – 15 Tips for Managing Grief and Loss at Work

Don’t Dwell On The Things You Can’t Control

For many people, the loss will be a major transition in their life. You may have to learn how to live without your loved one or figure out how to integrate the loss into your daily routine. 

This can be challenging and overwhelming at times, but it’s important not to let this overwhelm affect your work performance. 

If you find yourself getting distracted by things that aren’t relevant or useful for your job, try focusing on what you can control instead of dwelling on past events or worrying about future ones.

Be Honest About How Long You Need To Heal.

Ask for help. The best way to get over a loss is to accept that you need extra support, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it.

Don’t be afraid to take time off from work if you need it. This doesn’t mean that you have to quit your job; this just means that when the time comes for your mental health, prioritize yourself first instead of feeling guilty about taking time off work or coming in late after a rough night.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your loss with coworkers who’ve experienced similar losses themselves; doing so can actually strengthen relationships between coworkers and build an understanding among all employees at the company that everyone has losses, everyone experiences pain sometimes (it’s okay), and everyone deserves compassion from others when dealing with these types of personal hardships (which usually involves having conversations).

“Talking about grief and loss with your coworkers and boss can be difficult, but it’s important to communicate your needs and feelings. Our guide offers helpful tips to make these conversations easier.” – How to Talk About Grief and Loss with Your Boss and Coworkers

Keep A Routine, And Try Not To Make Huge Changes Right Now

You’re in a very difficult place. You’ve lost someone you love and need to take time to grieve, but now you are expected to be at work every day and it can be hard to know what else you should be doing. 

In addition, your work may have changed its schedule or expectations of you because of this loss.

To help manage all these changes and keep things as normal as possible while working through grief:

Keep a routine. Try not to make huge changes right now—a new schedule or different commute patterns could make it harder for you to focus on getting through the day without feeling overwhelmed or distracted by sadness or anxiety over the loss of your loved one.

When possible, try keeping some parts of your day exactly the same (for example, arrive at work at 8 am) even if other parts are different (perhaps instead of going out for lunch with colleagues, eat alone in your office). 

If there’s something that is too hard emotionally or physically right now (such as traveling long distances), don’t do it! 

If something feels overwhelming because there are too many people around all the time (like walking into a crowded subway car), seek out quieter areas where you can go by yourself until things feel better emotionally again later down road when energy levels return more fully after illness symptoms go away from treatment process itself which usually takes several weeks depending on severity level experienced during cancer procedure.

Tips For Keeping A Routine
Make a to-do list
Set small achievable goals
Schedule breaks
Practice self-care
Take time off if you need it

Talk To Someone With Experience In Grief Counseling

Talk to someone with experience in grief counseling. It’s important to have a person you can talk to who will understand what you are going through, and help guide you through the emotions that come with losing someone close to you. 

This could be a counselor or therapist, but also may be a friend or family member who has lost someone themselves. If this is not available, try talking with your religious community (if there is one) for support as well.

“Self-care is an important part of managing grief at work. Our guide offers helpful tips on how to take care of yourself during the grieving process and why it’s important.” – The Role of Self-Care in Managing Grief at Work

Prepare To Face Your Grief At Work Daily, At Least For A While

First, prepare to face your grief at work daily, at least for a while. You may need to take time off from work or ask for help from co-workers and supervisors. 

You might also want to talk with someone at work about how you are doing and what kind of support you need during this difficult time.

You may have trouble coping with your loss on the job because you feel like everyone is watching you. Or perhaps instead of feeling embarrassed, it makes you angry that people are asking how you are doing when they don’t really care or understand what it’s like to lose someone close to them.

Perhaps talking about what happened helps ease some of the pain; maybe it feels better than pretending everything is fine when it isn’t; maybe all of these feelings come out at once in ways that make everyone around feel uncomfortable but remember that everyone copes differently with loss and grief! 

As long as nothing dangerous is happening (such as self-harm), get help from someone who knows how best to support those grieving so that everyone can focus on getting back into their normal routines as soon as possible.”

Make Sure You Take Time Off When You Need It

You can’t help others if you don’t take care of yourself. You might feel guilty about taking time away from work, but your coworkers and boss will understand that this is an important part of the healing process for you. 

They may even begin to look forward to seeing how relaxed and rejuvenated you are when you return!

Not Everyone Will Understand What You’re Going Through; That’s Ok, Too

While it is important to be patient and understanding while you seek out understanding, it’s also fair to expect others to do their part in helping you through your grief. It may not always be easy for someone else to understand what you are going through, even though they care. 

In fact, sometimes people will say things that make things worse (even if they don’t mean to) or just don’t know what words to use in certain situations. 

You should never let any of this change the way you feel about yourself or your loved one who died but it is important for us all to recognize when we need help from others and ask them for it.

It could also be helpful for those around us who are trying their best but still coming up short when it comes down to showing empathy during tough times: don’t take offense if someone doesn’t get it immediately; give them space so they can process what has happened; keep being kind even if someone says something insensitively; remember that everyone grieves differently there’s no right or wrong way here!

How To Cope With Lack Of Understanding
Seek support from others
Join a support group or find a grief therapist
Journal your feelings
Practice self-compassion
Communicate your needs to others in a clear and respectful way


If you’re going through a difficult time at work, it can be hard to know where to turn for support. Unfortunately, not everyone will understand what you’re going through and that’s okay. 

Remember that although your coworkers may not be able to relate, they still care about your well-being and want you to feel better. 

Being open with them about what you need whether it’s space or time off will make them more likely to help in those ways.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you navigate grief and loss in the workplace:

How to Support Employees Through Grief and Loss: This article from SHRM provides helpful tips for supporting employees who are grieving, including creating a compassionate workplace culture and offering flexible work arrangements.

Tips for Coping with Grief at Work: This article from Verywell Mind offers practical advice for managing grief in the workplace, including taking time off if needed and finding ways to honor the person who passed away.


What is grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss, which can include the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or other significant life changes.

What are the stages of grief?

The five stages of grief, as defined by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

How can I support a grieving coworker?

Some ways to support a grieving coworker include offering condolences, being a good listener, and offering practical help such as covering their work tasks or bringing them meals.

How can I take care of myself while grieving at work?

Some self-care practices to help manage grief at work include taking breaks when needed, seeking support from colleagues or a therapist, and finding healthy ways to manage stress.