Helen Swire looks at the impact of bereavement on employees and asks how they can be supported


As our latest issue went to press, I was only recently returned to the office following the sudden loss of my father. Messages of love and condolence have poured in from all my extended family and friends: but one of the key pillars of strength during such a hard time has been the care and support from my colleagues.

While some employers might put ‘official’ support in place in times of bereavement, the understanding and flexibility of line managers and teams is incomparable in helping with the return to work process – and can be the difference between someone hiding from the world and them coming to work in the morning and adjusting to the new normal.

Here at Reward we have been talking a great deal about employee wellbeing, especially in light of the release of our major research on the subject, and we have seen increasing numbers of employers interacting with staff wellness beyond simple health issues.

From bereavement to personal debt, wellbeing goes far beyond healthcare, and although it is important not to forget the more ‘standard’ health problems faced on a day-to-day basis, it’s crucial that employers think outside the box about what keeping their employees well really means.

Wellbeing also goes beyond HR: having line managers who are empowered to reach out to employees and understand what they might be dealing with and what support they need is essential – from flexibility over hours, to support with work in the office, to simply having someone to talk to.

We will be discussing these issues at Reward Live next week, as we explore how employers can support their staff in every aspect of their working lives – including personal issues. There are still places left: visit http://www.rewardlive.co.uk/rwl17/ to register.