Advice for employers on handling bereavement in the workplace

Free event for local businesses held in support of Dying Matters Awareness Week

Whether you’re a colleague, a manager or a business owner, bereavement in the workplace is always a tricky subject; what do you say? What should you do? And how do you make sure your staff feel supported at the same time as keeping the wheels of business turning?

As part of Dying Matters Awareness Week, local experts in this field will hold a special event for employers of all sizes on Tuesday 14th May.

According to the bereavement charity, Cruse, one in ten people in the UK is thought to be affected by bereavement at any given time. Whilst most bereaved people will cope reasonably well at work, others struggle to deal with their loss, and this can impact on both productivity and relationships with co-workers.  Knowing how to approach a colleague who’s dealing with grief, what to say to them, and how to balance their needs with those of the workplace can be fraught with difficulty.

To help local employers support all of their staff with this most delicate of subjects, the Bereavement Team at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is joining with Cruse Bereavement Care, Macmillan Cancer Support and Dove House Hospice, to host ‘At a Loss for Words’, a dedicated breakfast seminar for businesses on Tuesday 14th May.

Sponsored by Macmillan, the event is free to attend and will take place at the Willerby Manor Hotel. Delegates will be able to hear first-hand experiences of managing bereavement from employers and employees, attend workshops, put questions to the expert panel, and receive a bereavement resource pack to take away and use in the workplace. Speakers include John Creasey from Dove House Hospice, who will help delegates to better understand bereavement, and Lizzie Jordan, a mother, widow and award-winning social entrepreneur who will provide a first-hand account of working life after bereavement.

Janis Hostad is a Lecturer and Education and Development Coordinator based at the Queen’s Centre in Cottingham, and will be among those presenting on the day. She says:

“Everyone will be affected by bereavement at some stage. Loss and grief can be difficult enough for people to speak about with their loved ones, but for employers, who understandably have to have one eye on their needs of their business, staff bereavement can pose extra challenges.

“Our special breakfast seminar will offer local employers the chance to hear from experts and ask questions which they may previously have been worried about asking. From compassionate leave and sources of bereavement support, right through to  understanding the  employee’s ongoing needs as they  return to work, our experts will give an insight into how best to deal with bereavement in the interests of the employee, co-workers, and the business as a whole.”

The breakfast seminar is suitable for employers of any size who would like assistance with bereavement issues, and is being held to coincide with national Dying Matters Awareness Week, 13th – 19th May 2019.

Janis continues:

“Loss and bereavement can be devastating, and people can find it very awkward just knowing what to say to someone who has lost a loved one, so many people avoid talking about these issues. It can be particularly difficult to know how best to help bereaved people at work.

“By offering appropriate support to bereaved staff and colleagues, we not only help them, but our workplace and our business too.”

‘At a Loss for Words’ will take place on the morning of Tuesday 14th May at the Willerby Manor Hotel, Carr Lane, Willerby.

For more information, contact Sandra Kelly on 01482 461260 or email sandra.kelly@hey.nhs.uk