Outside of people whose jobs are dangerous, we tend to assume that we’re safe in the workplace. However, every now and then, the office becomes a crime scene, leaving people grieving and traumatized in the aftermath.
Of course, we’d all like to assume that something like that could never happen where we work. However, there have been five workplace shootings in the United States this year, tallying 46 victims, 39 of whom died from their injuries. Not to mention that the number of workplace suicides has been rising in recent years. How does a company come back from such a horrific event? There’s no cookie-cutter method for recovering from a violent crime or suicide in the workplace, but we hope the pointers in this guide will help you and your team members recover quickly.
Hire professionals to clean the suicide or crime scene.
The first step to getting back to normal after a homicide or suicide in the workplace is to hire professional crime scene cleaners to handle the crime scene cleanup. It’s not wise for anyone in your organization to attempt a cleanup, as you don’t know what bloodborne pathogens or contaminants could be present. Furthermore, dead bodies have a final release of the fluids in their bodies.
Finding a crime scene cleaning company in your area shouldn’t be hard, and law enforcement will certainly be able to give you information about crime scene cleanup teams in your local region. It’s advisable that neither you nor any of your team members enter the premises until cleanup is complete.
PIan a memorial service for the victims.
After law enforcement and the crime scene cleanup team finishes their work, it’s time for your company to begin working to return to normal. However, you can’t get back to normal without collectively acknowledging what happened in the office and finding a way to process the reality of the event and the emotions you’re all feeling.
Holding a memorial service at the crime scene will give your team a chance to honor those who lost their lives. It also presents the opportunity for you and your team members to take a collective breath and congregate to grieve and overcome. You might also want to offer to cover therapy for those who need further help to process their grief.
Work to create a better workplace environment and company culture.
Usually, when someone commits a violent crime or suicide at their place of employment, it’s because something about their job is bothering them. So, if someone commits homicide or takes their own life in your office, you might want to take some time to evaluate your company culture. We’re not saying you should blame yourself for the actions of others. However, you should feel driven to take steps to prevent such a thing from ever happening again on your premises.
Malliha Wilson—founder and senior counsel of Nava Wilson LLP—prioritizes employee satisfaction as much as client satisfaction. That’s because she understands that the better the experience her law office provides for its associates and other team members, the better the experience they’ll provide to the company’s clients.
No one rolls out of bed and goes to work expecting to witness a homicide or suicide in their office. Workplace murders are rare, but we can all agree that the only acceptable workplace murder rate is zero. But when your office is the scene of a violent crime, your top priority should be cleaning the trauma scene and helping your team members recover from their trauma. After all, one of the best ways to overcome traumatic events is with the love and support of family members and those with whom you share the traumatic experience.