What Is the Right Way to Write an Email Announcing the Death of an Employee?

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Though email communications are not typically the preferred method of announcing a death, it can be an efficient way to communicate the news in an office, particularly one that has many employees; this message should be sent to employees only and should not include the bereaved party. This message should be written respectfully and should be brief, including only essential information and not straying into conjecture or gossip. In addition to announcing the death and acknowledging the fact that the employee may be out of the office for a while, the email can also communicate the family’s wishes regarding floral or charitable gifts and for smaller organizations may include details about a memorial service.

Bereavement emails are likely not the proper venue for discussing work-related details such as taking over the bereaved employee’s tasks. These details are likely best discussed in a meeting that only includes the relevant parties, such as the bereaved employee’s direct manager and team members. Sending an email announcing a death is an effective way of quelling the possibility of gossip and of reminding employees that the organization is a team. This initial announcement message may be an appropriate venue to discuss details like sending a group message or organizing support tasks such as making meals for the family.