Grief at Work: Loss & Resilience in the Workplace

There’s an urgent need for workplaces to spur resilience by normalizing loss and being supportive in the face of grief.

A resource by Ari Simon

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Grief at Work is a staff training workshop for organizations, companies, and teams to learn key skills for recognizing and responding to loss and grief in the workplace.

As colleagues, coworkers, and teams, learning how to support each other in our most challenging moments is a critical step in creating work cultures that are more equitable, inclusive, and resilient.

Bringing Grief at Work into your workplace will help you and your team:

  • Recognize our tendencies to avoid acknowledging loss
  • Learn how to transform barriers into pathways towards resilience
  • Practice alleviating shame and encouraging colleagues’ wellbeing
  • Gain practical tools for supporting each other through bereavement and losses of any kind
  • Walk away with a deeper sense of how to maintain caring, supportive, and sustainable work environments

The Grief at Work program offerings range from a 1 hour intro session to a half-day planning and practice retreat. This customizable training can support teams of all shapes and sizes, though each workshop is best suited for small to medium (5-30 people) sized groups. A demo version is also available for initially engaging larger audiences. Grief at Work can be formatted for in-person convening or for virtual gathering.

Grief at Work is led by Ari Simon, a facilitator, coach, community engagement practitioner, and artist. Ari's various programs on death care, grief, and resilience have engaged over a thousand participants across North America. With a background in public policy and management, Ari runs Inner & Outer Engagement, a planning and convening practice bringing people into conversation and connection around topics such as environmental policy, organizational values, gender identity, community resilience, and loss, death & grief.

My Inspiration

In my second year of college, my roommate and dear friend suddenly died, changing the entire social and emotional landscape of my community and my college experience. The loss of him has had a lasting impact on my life, and alongside it, so has my experience of how little the university offered in proactive outreach, consensual support, or space for grief. The messages I heard instead were try to just focus, keep up the good work, and make it to graduation. In professional roles over the next decade, I kept noticing how in the face of any kind of loss – not just deaths, but also in the more everyday ones like a project going badly or relationship woes – there was such aversion to pausing, reflecting, and integrating insights gleaned from the experience. It’s part of what led me towards a career of facilitation and coaching: wanting to hold space for others to welcome what’s really happening and spark transformation. The more I do this work, the clearer it has become that resilience — to recover from difficulty and carry forward better — requires normalizing loss and allowing grief.

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