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How To Handle Employees That Are Grieving Or Depressed

It is important to have good workplace skills as a supervisor when you have employees who are dealing with depression or are grieving. This article will provide some tips on how you as a supervisor can help employees with these issues.

1. Be sensitive. When an employee approaches you about a death in the family or depression, tell them that you understand what they are going through. Ask them how this will impact their work. Once you know, you will be able to sit down with them and construct a work plan that will help them focus on small tasks each day. They will be able to have small benchmarks of success, but will have enough time to deal with their emotions. Once an employee with depression or grief starts recovering, they will be able to handle larger and more difficult tasks. Seeing success will help them feel better.

2. Give them time off work. Depression is a legitimate illness. If someone had a medical condition, you would be required to give him or her time off work. If they are depressed, ask them to consult with their doctor to see if some time off work would be a good thing. If this is the case, you are within your grounds to ask them for a doctor's note. If an employer has lost someone, you are required by law to give him or her bereavement time. This time off is to help them deal with their life. When they return, your employee will be able to perform as a top member of your team.

3. Ask other employees to be kind. If your employees work on a team that is highly competitive, remind your team to be kind to one another in confidence. A person may not respond well to a competitive environment during depression or a grieving period. Your employees should continue to be competitive, but be sensitive to the needs of the individual. Encourage your employees to get nice, inexpensive gifts or flowers for the person who is going through a bereavement period. This will help make that difficult time of life easier.

4. Make accommodations to cover work that your grieving or depressed employee will miss. This tip is almost a no brainer. When an employee tells you that they will be missing a considerable amount of work, it is good to find another person to help them complete any tasks that they may miss. There is nothing more daunting than going away for a funeral and having to come back to a pack of work that has built up over a period of time. If your grieving employee has business contacts, be sure to have another contact call and keep up any appointments that may be missed.

5. Still have high expectations. Just because the employee is going to be absent from work doesn't mean that you should expect less of them. Setting standards and adhering to them will help that employee get on with their life. Even though they lost a loved person or were depressed for a while, life still goes on. Having expectations for them and meaningful things to do will help the down employee move on with their life.

Remember that depression and grief are a part of life. Whenever someone encounters an obstacle in their life, remember that it is human nature for someone to have to slow down and deal with their issues. When a person is able to move on from their issues, they will be able to perform much more effectively in the workplace. If they are a valued member of your team, you will notice that they are somewhat off their game. That is fine. Just give them the support they need and help them get back on track again.

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