Going Back to Work after Bereavement

Saturday, 21 January 2023

When you lose a loved one, it can be difficult to think about having to go back to work. You may be anxious to face your coworkers and give details about your loss. It’s important to think about what support or adjustments you might need to be able to start working again.  

When you’re grieving, you can expect that you’ll be operating at a sub-par level to what you’re used to.
Don’t be hard on yourself and expect things to go smoothly from day one of your return.  

If you have a team of colleagues that you can reach out to, this might be the time to call them in for a quick meeting to let them know what you’re dealing with.  

Try explaining some of the biggest ways your grief might affect you work performance and suggest ways in which they can help you, this could look like: 

Double Checking Your Work  

When mourning the loss of a loved one, its easy to skip over the important details in your work. Grief tends to cause you to be forgetful and absent minded. It’s useful to check everything twice or ask a co-worker or manager to review what you have done. Let your co-workers and employer know how difficult things seem at this time and where you need their help.  

Not taking on too much work  

Learn the art of balancing the amount of work that you can handle while grieving your loss. Consider half days for a week or so, easing your way back into the normal routine. Grief can be unpredictable. If, once you’re fully back to work, you’re finding it difficult to manage as a result of your grief, talk to your employer about the support they can offer. 

Ask for help when needed  

Knowing how to ask for help can save you from a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety down the line. If you think that you’re not performing at your best and your work may suffer from it, ask your coworkers to step in and give you assistance.  

Let them know what is helpful to you when you are having a particularly hard day; giving you a hug, allowing you to have some alone time, making you a cup of coffee, or going for a short walk. The more they know what they can do for you, the more comfortable you will be in their presence.  


Thinking ahead will make your return to work easier and less painful. Reaching out to your employer and your fellow coworkers can help you through the process of returning back to work. Healing from the loss of a loved one is a long, slow process, but getting back into a routine is an important step in the journey.