National Grief Awareness Week, which takes place annually in December, aims to raise awareness of the impact of grief. This initiative serves as a reminder to us all about the importance of encouraging open conversations about grief and loss, something that many employees and their families may need support with at any time of year.
Grief and loss can impact everyone differently and there are no rules as to when and how it might hit us. It’s undeniably also a very sensitive subject – whether in or out the workplace, so it’s no surprise that supporting anyone experiencing grief, particularly those responsible for any funeral arrangements, can be very daunting.
As well as the emotional turmoil of losing someone, the practical decisions can be extremely overwhelming, not to mention the financial cost. Many do not discuss funeral plans with their loved ones and just a fifth have a funeral plan in place, further increasing the burden on those they leave behind.
Research findings1 from Everest Funeral Concierge, an independent consumer advocate that supports funeral planning, and has partnered exclusively with MetLife in the UK, looked at the impact on consumers who had recently helped to organise a funeral for someone close to them. The results highlight the impact that funeral planning can have as well as areas where additional support could help.
- 2 in 3 (66%) don’t want their funeral to be a burden for their loved ones and nearly
- 2 in 5 (38%) were surprised by the complexity of dealing with the deceased’s affairs
- 1 in 4 (26%) say that the organisation of the funeral took more time than expected
- 1 in 3 (32%) found that their ability to work was negatively impacted by having to organise a funeral
- Yet fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) put a plan in place for their own funeral.
Dominic Grinstead, CEO of MetLife UK comments: “The past few years and aftermath of the pandemic served as a timely reminder for many of us of our own mortality. It is important that people start opening up those conversations around death and ensuring they and their families feel informed, involved, and enabled to shape their own end of life plans. By encouraging these conversations, people can feel they are able to access emotional support services and take practical steps to help those who they will leave behind and their families have access to all the resources needed too when grieving the loss of a loved one.
“We identified a gap in the Group Life market to better support how employers can offer greater support to employees when they experience the loss of a loved one – not just emotionally but through practical resources. As a result, we partnered with Everest Funeral Concierge and extended our Group Life offering to more than 1.4 million UK employees to ensure they have experienced support available to plan ahead for funerals, will planning and critically, the administrative support to take care of funeral requirements when a loved one passes away. This ultimately allows a family more time to grieve at a very difficult time.”
1Everest research of 1,000 people who helped organise a funeral for a family member or close friend in the last eight to 24 months