At any one time, one in ten people are going through a bereavement. Some may find coming into work a helpful distraction, whereas others might prefer to keep away from the office to cope with their situation.
Last year St Catherine’s Hospice held a workshop for employees across Surrey and Sussex and discovered huge differences in the way local employers manage bereavement and illness.
Identifying a need to equip managers to handle difficult conversations and offer support, St Catherine’s teamed up with employee benefits provider Unum, to combine their expertise and develop a resource to educate managers.
Their partnership is also part of St Catherine’s wider mission to lead the local community in support of all those facing death and bereavement and to reach more people affected by death and dying.
The free, interactive toolkit has been designed to help line managers feel in control when managing death and bereavement in their teams.
The toolkit consist of five modules:
- what is bereavement?
- working through bereavement
- bereavement in the workplace
- supporting a bereaved colleague
- support if a colleague dies.
Offering information on the effects of grief and bereavement and the impact this may have on employees’ work, the toolkit also provides advice on understanding the challenges a bereaved colleague may face and dealing with practicalities.
“For many of us the workplace is where we spend most of our time so when you’re bereaved it’s particularly important that your colleagues and managers feel able to support you,” explained Karen Norman, lead for patient and family support services at St Catherine’s Hospice.
“Our toolkit is there to help make sure people feel confident when talking about death and bereavement and it’s been a really exciting project for us to work on. We hope lots of businesses will make use of it and that more workers will feel supported by their employers at a difficult time as a result.”
The toolkit has been launched during Dying Matters Awareness Week, an annual national campaign which aims to encourage people to talk openly about death and bereavement. You can find out more about the week on the Dying Matters website.