Grief at Work

Unaddressed grief costs not only businesses, but also the healthcare system at large. Grief reduces productivity due to absenteeism, mistakes, turnover and increased use of health benefits. As reported by the Wall Street Journal in November 2002, the annual cost of death-related grief to American business in lost productivity is estimated to exceed $37.6 billion. So aside from compassion for grieving employees, there is a business case to be made for addressing workplace grief head on.

American Hospice Foundation has made significant contributions toward this ideal workplace. Since launching its Grief at Work public awareness campaign in 1998, more than 3,000 employers have utilized AHF’s publications for employees and managers.

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Thanks to AHF’s educational materials, I learned that unresolved grief can compromise work performance as well as personal relationships. I decided to share these materials with my staff as they contained valuable lessons about making our work environment more compassionate and accommodating to employees suffering a loss. The result was a grateful staff and a boost in morale.

- Paul Clendening, president of a Kansas City bank, grieving father