How To Support Coworkers Through Difficult Times

Life’s daily stresses don’t take a backseat to work enough, and mounting pressures outside the office often spill into our professional projects. We’re trained to ignore these pressures and carry on unfazed, a tactic that only compounds the problem. Instead of ignoring these pressures, cultivate a culture of coworker support to ease fatigue and fortify camaraderie. As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and collective empathy subdues mounting stress. 

The staffing experts at CSS Professional Staffing Group have compiled a guide to appropriately support coworkers in times of crises inside and outside the office. Read on below and learn how to create a rock-solid employee support system.  

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Your home away from home  

Even working remotely, your coworkers become your family. You spend countless hours collaborating on projects, solving problems, celebrating accomplishments, and forming bonds that extend beyond the 9 am to 5 pm window. We celebrate marriages, children, passions, and pursuits outside work.  

But what about those times of crisis you or your coworkers find yourselves in? Forbes found that 75% of U.S. workers struggle at work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty, and other ongoing global crises. We celebrate together, so we should be able to grieve, hear, and support each other as well.

“While there is still a fine line of etiquette when consoling a coworker, there are effective tactics you can use to show support without going over the line,” notes  Alyssa Mastrangelo, CSS PSG National Recruiting Director. 

Show empathy and be an outlet  

Acknowledgment is the first step in supporting someone going through a crisis, and sometimes the only step needed. Trying to solve someone else’s turmoil isn’t feasible and odds are you’re not a mental health professional. Simply acknowledging the loss of a family member, relationship split, or other trying events often is all a coworker needs to hear.  

Offer specific support without giving unsolicited advice 

Helping alleviate a stressed coworker’s workload is a great way to lend a hand without engaging in unnecessary involvement. Don’t mistake this for offering unsolicited advice which may overstep boundaries.  

Offer support on project deliverables that may need attention from a stressed coworker. Grab lunch or coffee for someone in need of a pick-me-up. A little extra assistance goes a long way for someone preoccupied with more pressing matters.   

Recognize wins, large or small 

Everyone loves to be complimented, it’s in our human nature to crave recognition. While your manager takes care of monetary rewards for a job well done, many organizations have “shoutout” forums to publicly acknowledge coworkers for stellar performances. Take advantage of this opportunity to highlight a win by a coworker going through a crisis. Seeing your name in lights for an accomplishment achieved while balancing outside stress emphasizes hard work and shows support.  

Extend deadlines of joint projects  

If you find yourself working on a joint project with a coworker in crisis, give as much extra time as needed feasibly. Greenlight this project extension with your manager and take as much off your team member’s plate as possible as they navigate their crisis. Your team members will greatly appreciate the extra assistance and will return the favor in time.  

Avoid projecting fake optimism  

A knee-jerk reaction many of us have to delicate crisis situations is to project optimism onto our coworkers. Trying to de-escalate a situation with “well look on the bright side” or “don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it seems” just comes off as insensitive and further isolates your coworker. It makes it seem as though you offer no empathy, and to them feels more like an “I don’t want to hear it, it’s not that bad” comment in a potentially dire situation.  

Partner with CSS Professional Staffing Group to join your next superteam  

To land your dream role at your dream company, reach out to the recruitment professionals at CSS Professional Staffing Group and begin your employment journey. Specializing in human resources, accounting and finance, office support, and call center support, CSS PSG has been a staffing industry leader for almost 20 years with stellar client reviews. Connect with CSS PSG today to make your career dream a reality!  

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