Workplace relationships are already tricky, but they can get even trickier when one of your coworkers loses a loved one. What do you do when one of your coworkers loses a loved one and has to plan a service at a funeral home in Clarksville, TN?
Situations like these can be very difficult to navigate as it’s hard to know what to say or what to do to be helpful and comforting but still professional. How do you properly express sympathy in the workplace? There are a few ways to go about it.
For example, if you’re speaking to a bereaved coworker from just yourself, you can say things like: “My heart goes out to you during this difficult time.”, “Please let me know if I can help in any way.”, “My warm thoughts and sincere prayers are with you and your loved ones.”, or “Please know I’m here for you in this season of mourning.”
If you’re speaking on behalf of a team or the entire company, try something like: “We are fully behind you and however much time you need! You have the sincere condolences of the entire team in this challenging time.”, or “On behalf of the company, we are here to help you through this.”
But where and when do you convey these sentiments? Oftentimes the easiest and best way to convey condolences in a professional setting is via email. Here are some tips for writing a professional condolences email, like don’t make it about you. Phrases like “I know how you feel” aren’t helpful and may make the recipient feel as if you’re not seeing them in their specific pain. Instead, share a memory of their lost loved one.
Be professional in tone and style and use a simple subject line. Its best to avoid unprofessional or flippant writing. Therefore, don’t use things like slang, cliches, or emojis. Be sure to make your subject line clear and simple so they know the message isn’t about work but is instead about their loss. Try something like: “My Condolences” or “With Deepest Sympathy.” Also, not everyone shares the same religious beliefs. Don’t assume they believe in the afterlife by using generic expressions like “they’re in a better place.” You can, however, say you will pray for them if that is in line with your beliefs or religion. You should also offer specific help. Don’t offer advice. Instead, offer to help in specific ways.
For example, you could offer to deliver a home cooked meal, send a gift card for a grocery delivery service, or send a bouquet of their favorite flowers. No matter how you offer to help, don’t be too pushy or insistent. Finally, sign off professionally and proofread. Though this email is personal in nature, you should still sign off in a professional manner. Avoid signing off with sentiments like, “All of my love,” as it can be too informal. Instead use “All my best” or “With sympathy” before signing.