The very best businesses and teams will operate as though they are one big family. And if there’s one thing family units do, it’s to support each other in times of need.
Your business, even if it’s small, is a family unit too. When there’s a birthday you all celebrate, when there’s an injury you all show sympathy, and when there’s a death you all console.
The sudden loss of a coworkers or employees family member can be hard to cope with for your entire company. That’s why it’s important to tread carefully, and handle the situation with the diligence it deserves.
Don’t pretend everything’s ok
No matter how sad people feel, it’s never good to keep that bottled up. This only makes those feelings worse, and that’s not an option in the workplace.
So no matter when your staff member returns to work, take them to one side and ask if they’re well. Showing your concern makes you appear more a friend than a boss, which is exactly what they need at this time.
Sure, you could carry on and ignore the elephant in the room, but that’s not the person wants. They want attention, whether they’ll admit it or not. It helps them to explain their feelings and makes the working day a little more comfortable.
By recognizing that your colleague needs you, you ease a lot of their pain and worry that the people at work ‘may not even care.’
Offer them more time off
Of course, it’s common sense to make such a move, but you must be aware of what the rules and surrounding paid time off. Take the time to brush up on compassionate leave guidelines so you know exactly what the employee is entitled to and what you can offer them.
By giving them more time off, you’re allowing them more time to process the grief. In addition, your employee will likely have more respect for you for understanding their situation.
Communicate with the family
Even a small gesture, like a bunch of flowers or a small gift, will go a long way. Communicate your best wishes to the family of your employee, and offer your help should they need it.
Let them know that the whole team is behind them, and that the employee can take as much time as they need. By placing yourself, irrefutably, on the side if the employee, you gain
respect from the family as well as your co workers.
Make sure you attend the funeral
It’s obvious that you care, but your employee may not feel that way unless you show up for the funeral. This allows you to pay your last respects to the deceased, as well as reinforce the fact that you’re a friend, not a boss.
As long as your business is left running smoothly, there’s no reason you can’t devote an afternoon to this!