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Published On: Fri, Oct 3rd, 2014

Top Tips for Handling Unexpected Events in the Workplace

One of your best employees just punched another employee in the face. Quick – what do you do? It’s a shock to the system, isn’t it? Most employers are caught off-guard when the unexpected happens at work. Here’s how to deal.

Don’t Hold It In

After a traumatic event, you might be tempted to hold everything in and not talk about it. Usually, this is a mistake. You don’t have to be stoic. It’s OK to experience anger, sadness, regret, and grief. Tell other managers, even employees how you’re feeling. You’ll be setting a context for any odd behavior that employees or co-workers notice in the near future. It’s also a great part of the healing process.

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Do I Have A Workers’ Comp Claim?

If you, or an employee, was injured, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. Normally, employers hate workers’ comp cases, because it means that the employee has injured himself and the company’s premiums are going to increase. At the same time, management needs to be concerned about the welfare of its employees and help them navigate the workers’ comp process so that they can come back with a renewed morale and ready to work.

Ask For Support

Ask for support from upper management or from peers. Sometimes, relief from a strict deadline can help, as can taking a day, or even a long weekend, off. When you return, you’ll be more likely to be productive and focused on your work instead of the traumatic event.

Should You Seek Help From An Employee Assistance Program?

Many employers make a point of setting up an Employee Assistance Program, or put employees in touch with a third-party service that can help. These services are geared toward helping employees deal with death or some other traumatic event. It doesn’t always have to be a psychologist or psychiatrist, but often, these services are available.

Encourage Employees To Talk About Painful Experiences

One of the best forms of therapy is group therapy. Encourage employees to talk about their painful experiences. Get them to open up to each other, and you’ll find that they are not only willing to do so, but they become closer as a family. You’ll be surprised by just how close employees get when something traumatic happens that affects everyone.

That’s because no one really wants to see something bad happen to someone else. Even if employees aren’t necessarily friends outside of work, they will tend to form stronger bonds after a traumatic event, as long as they are allowed to and encouraged to talk about it. Open communication boosts morale, and makes everyone feel like the employer is concerned for everyone’s welfare.

Embrace Work

Sometimes, the best medicine is to keep working. It’s not that mourning the loss of an employee is a waste of time, but there’s a value in productive work that can become the final chapter in the grieving process. If the emergency isn’t as traumatic as a death, then work can become even more important as a means to return to normalcy. Embrace it, and encourage your employees to embrace it too.

Guest Author :

Aaron Friedman, Esq., is a lawyer of over 25 years and advocate for workers’ compensation. He has helped many people disabled by work-related causes through no fault of their own. You can read his illuminating articles on many of today’s websites and blogs.

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