How to Help a Grieving Coworker

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance | July 9, 2021
If one of your coworkers recently experienced the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to say to them. While you want to be there for them, you also don’t want to say something that offends them or makes them uncomfortable.

To make navigating this situation a little easier, these are some tips for what to say to a grieving coworker.

Talk to Them


While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, not saying anything is even worse. Schedule a time to meet with them privately to talk about their needs and how they’re doing. See if they need a lighter workload or help with any tasks. You also can have everyone sign a sympathy card and give this to them to show your support.

Establish Boundaries


Your coworker may or may not be ready to talk about their loss and how they’re feeling. What you can do is let them know that you’re always there for them. If they want to talk, let them know you’re happy to listen and comfort them. Or, if they just want the comfort of being around someone in silence, offer to eat lunch with them or take a walk together on your break or after work.

Other Ways to Help


Some other ways you can help a grieving coworker are to make meals, donate some vacation days to them, if allowed, and keep checking in on them regularly — but don’t be intrusive. Your employer might also recommend that they take some time off work to grieve their loss. If this is the case, you can offer to help take on some of their responsibilities while they’re out. Then, when they’re back, you can catch them up to speed and help them ease back into their role.

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