If someone in your workplace has experienced a loss, it will have an effect on all who come into contact with that co-worker. If you are one of those people, you may feel uncomfortable or perhaps uncertain. “What should I say?” is a common question. Some co-workers experience feelings of helplessness. You are not alone. What matters most is not what you say, but the fact that you care.
Consider alternative workplace solutions such as co-workers donating leave or offering shared leave for someone with a very ill family member.
Understand that your co-worker or employee is likely to be distracted or preoccupied and may need to make more personal calls or take longer breaks.
Be flexible and give employees “permission” to take care of themselves. “I know you are going through a difficult time. If you need to leave the office for a while today or you want to work from home, let me know so that I can make the necessary arrangements.”
Ask if your co-worker wants to discuss the subject. If not, be sympathetic while allowing the person to concentrate on his or her job.
Ask human resources managers for information or referrals to counselors or other resources. If your company offers Employee Assistance Programs, let your co-worker or employee know that this service is available.