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Supporting a colleague through a hard time.


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As we navigate through the whirlwind that can be our professional lives, we often encounter situations where a colleague/friend at work might be going through a difficult time. It could be a personal crisis, a professional setback, or a period of burnout. Amidst spreadsheets, deadlines, and meetings, it is essential to remember that we are all human, and our emotions significantly impact our lives and productivity. Here are some ways to support a colleague during tough times. Lets deep dive into ways of supporting your colleague through turbulent times:

Be observant and empathetic:

  • People often mask their difficulties, especially in a professional environment. If a colleague seems unusually quiet, withdrawn, or distressed, consider this as a possible sign of an ongoing problem. Being empathetic to their situation can go a long way in offering them comfort.

 

Initiate a conversation:

  • A simple “how are you?” can open the door to a conversation. However, it is crucial to approach the topic with sensitivity. Do not push them to share if they’re not comfortable and ensure to respect their boundaries.

 

Listen actively:

  • When a colleague chooses to share their problem with you, the best thing you can do is listen. Active listening involves not just hearing their words but also understanding their feelings and perspectives. This can help them feel understood and less alone.

 

Offer words of encouragement:

  • Amidst challenging times, words of encouragement can become a source of strength. Let your colleague know that you believe in their resilience and that it’s okay to have bad days.

 

Respect their privacy:

  • If a colleague has confided in you, it’s crucial to respect their trust and keep their situation confidential unless they’ve given you permission to share or if there’s a professional obligation to do so.

 

Provide practical help:

  • If you the capacity, offer to help with their workload or collaborate on tasks. This kind of support can significantly reduce stress and make them feel less overwhelmed.

 

Encourage professional help:

  • If your colleague’s situation seems severe and continues for an extended period, encourage them to seek professional help. Most organisations have an employee assistance program, well-being champion or counselling sessions to provide support in such situations.

 

Maintain normalcy:

  • While it’s essential to be supportive, try to maintain normalcy. Continuing to engage your colleague in regular work discussions and social activities can provide a sense of routine and stability.

 

Be patient:

  • Healing and recovery take time. Be patient with their progress and continue your support for as long as it’s needed.

 

Promote a supportive work culture:

  • Advocate for mental health awareness and a supportive work environment in your organisation. This will not only help your colleague but also create a healthier and more empathetic workplace for all.

 

Take away

  • We spend a significant portion of our lives at work. A supportive and understanding colleague can make a world of difference during tough times. Try and be as supportive as possible but also bear in mind where your own limitations lie and the capacity in which you are able to offer support and help. Where you are unable to, try to sign-post, listen with the intent of understanding and being patient and respectful of their boundaries (as well as adhering your own).

 

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UNVAELD Professional Help

We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.
We do not provide professional help to individuals in urgent crisis. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 999 immediately. For support with suicidal thoughts, consider contacting the Samaritans UK, a trusted organisation specialising in confidential assistance during emotional distress. Your safety is paramount and there are professionals available to provide the urgent help required in such critical situations.