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Facilitating workplace grief through an organic office ‘Last Office’ session for bereaved employees


Background Grief and loss in the workplace setting often entail a culture of silence, which can be detrimental to the psychosocial and emotional functioning of the work unit. Oftentimes, in an effort to maintain the role of ‘consummate professionals’, expressions of negative emotions are suppressed to avoid awkwardness. However, employees are not automatons that can freely leave their emotions at the office lobby and then begin work. This piece details the experience of losing a long-time colleague and one team’s efforts in aiding the organic development of a brief grief intervention for psychosocial care.

Method Named the Office ‘Last Office’, this process sought to (1) acknowledge the loss, (2) unpack emotions and (3) honour the memory of the deceased coworker and culminated with the (4) practical removal of their personal effects from their workstation for return to the family.

Conclusion This brief intervention borrows from the respectful sensitivity of the ‘Last Office’ or ‘Laying Out’ practice that nurses employ when working with the recently deceased and is a first step to informing and changing the current vocational climate regarding acknowledging grief within a workplace setting.

  • communication
  • empathy
  • mental health
  • support
  • values

Data availability statement

Data sharing not applicable as no datasets generated and/or analysed for this study. Not applicable.

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