Helping Employees Cope with a Natural Disaster
Some steps you can take to help employees cope:
- Acknowledge the event as tragic and, at this point in time, perhaps ongoing.
- Provide those employees who are affected with an opportunity to talk about their fear, horror, helplessness and grief.
- Allow them to talk about what they saw, felt, and experienced, including physical reactions in response to this tragic event (such as nausea, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite).
- Let employees know that it is completely normal to be experiencing such a wide range of reactions in response to this event.
- Encourage employees to do all that they need to do to feel safe, while at the same time acknowledging and talking about the traumatic nature of the event.
- Remind employees to work towards normalizing and focusing on their daily experience as much as possible – eating regular meals, getting periods of rest and reducing the amount and frequency of mentally demanding tasks.
- Encourage employees to stay in close contact with loved ones, and keep close communication with their children.
- Provide employees with written information acknowledging the nature of the event, and what kind of services may be available to help them.
- Encourage employees to call, as needed, and speak with an EAP counselor.
- Provide written information, in the form of handouts, concerning what they can do to help themselves and one another cope and recover from the traumatic impact of this event.