good life, good death, good grief

Scottish Compassionate Communities Toolkit

Supportive workplaces

Workplaces are communities. Many people spend a significant proportion of their lives at work, spending more time with work colleagues than with family and friends.

A compassionate workplace is one where employees feel supported through the ups and downs of life by colleagues, managers and institutional procedures.

Support provided by a workplace can come in many guises. Some is formally structured into the policies and procedures of the employer, for example compassionate leave. Some might be at the discretion of an individual line-manager, for example flexible working arrangements. Some is down to colleagues, for example understanding someone’s low mood, or making them a cup of tea.

When death intrudes on our lives and expectations, workplaces can play an important role providing:

  • flexibility to allow someone to continue doing what matters most to them
  • information on financial, legal and other practical issues
  • understanding and social support

Providing a supportive workplace can also have benefits for the organisation. Research suggests compassion in the workplace:

  • reduces anxiety
  • helps people feel valued
  • helps people resume a sense of normality
  • increases bonds between co-workers
  • generates higher levels of shared positive emotion
  • builds a collective capacity for healing

What can be done to encourage more compassionate workplaces?

The Bereavement Charter Mark for Employers provides a framework that organisations can use to improve how they support bereaved staff, and is supported by the Bereavent Friendly workplaces toolkit to help managers, employers and colleagues create more bereavement-friendly workplaces. Read more here: Grief in the workplace

Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

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