Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Other places on this site address the generalities of bereavement, grief, mourning, and dying. A workplace-related death, on the other hand, has unique factors that are not present in the usual discussions of these topics. What can be important to fellow employees of the deceased include the circumstances of the death, such as the suddenness and the place; whether the cause was natural, accidental, or intentional; the relationship of the deceased to the particular employee; and the role, tenure, and age of the deceased.

Based on my experience working with those who have had to cope with a death in the workplace, the following chart shows subjective indicators of how these various factors typically amplify co-workers' grief:


  Moderately Greatly
    Sudden, unexpected   +
    Slow, anticipated +  
    At work   +
    Away from work +  
Witnessed by co-worker   +
    Natural, disease +  
    Accidental +  
    Purposeful at hands of another   +
    Suicide   ++
    Acquaintance +  
    Close co-worker   +
    Supervisor/supervisee   +
    Intimate (lover, friend)   ++
Length of service    
    Relatively long   +
    Relatvely short +  
    Relatively young   +
    Relatively old +  


In other words, a suicide by a relatively young employee that occurs suddenly at work and is witnessed by a co-worker who has been a close friend for a relatively long period of time will be much more traumatic than will be the death of an older, terminally ill acquaintance who has been with the organization for a short period of time. In the more traumatic situations, individual counseling and/or critical incidence de-briefing will probably be necessary for the long-term health of the employee(s).