Impact of trauma or critical events on workplaces “considerable” and often “under-estimated”


When traumatic events or critical incidents happen in people’s lives, the impact and costs to New Zealand businesses are considerable and often under-estimated. A groundbreaking new handbook is being launched this week to give New Zealand workplace leaders’ tools to understand the costs and the impact of trauma, loss and grief in their workplace and how to mitigate these.

New Zealand legislation now requires employers to monitor and protect their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing, and this resource contributes to achieving this. Supporting employees’ wellbeing improves productivity and profits.

Skylight, a respected trauma and grief support agency, and EAPworks, a leading employee assistance programme provider, have partnered to see this handbook published.

Says Skylight Chief Executive Bice Awan, “We shouldn’t wait for death or injury to give a damn! We all take our lives to work, with its challenges and difficulties, irrespective of the roles we hold. At times, workplace leaders have to cope with sensitive employee situations of all kinds. When they have the knowledge and skills to respond to these effectively, business costs are minimised and employee wellbeing is maximised.

“We’re not just talking about the death of a colleague or family member, a suicide, a serious illness or an injury, but also a relationship break up, bullying, fraud, and even organisational change. This handbook is so practical; its guidelines will assist workplace leaders facing any challenging situation to support themselves and their teams.”

New Zealand continues to have high rates of workplace fatalities and injuries (annually in New Zealand, there are 100 work-related fatalities and 12,000 work-related injuries that cause permanent impairment); this can have a significant impact on those involved. People facing tough personal life situations often find it hard to function effectively at work.  Staff morale and loyalty and organisational reputation are enhanced when there is an intentionally supportive workplace environment. 

Says Bice Awan, “When an employee is struggling at work, it’s important to be aware of this and to start conversations with them. Understanding the individualised nature of trauma and grief reactions is key, as well as being aware of how to implement support strategies.”

EAPworks Co-Director Julie Crawley says “We felt compelled to be involved in the publication of this new handbook because we are aware how often, and how much, workplaces struggle with these issues. It can make all the difference to how an employee copes with tough situations while at work, if managers have a better understanding and practical tools to deal with these issues.”

A one-day Skylight workshop entitled Managing trauma loss and grief in your workplace complements the handbook. 




The handbook is being launched on 26 September 2013 at the Business Central Wellness Conference in Wellington, where Bice Awan, Chief Executive of Skylight, is speaking on “The Importance of Managing Trauma, Loss and Grief in the Workplace” 

To discuss this issue or handbook further, please contact:


The handbook costs $60 plus postage and packaging. To order a copy, visit the Skylight shop, or telephone 0800 299 100.

Media Release Archive

2016: May (1)
2014: Mar (1), Feb (1), Jan (1)
2013: Dec (2), Sep (2)

Go Shopping.