How To Tell Your Coworker About A Family Emergency With 13 Steps

Written By Aleena

We can all have emergencies that come up unexpectedly. If you must leave work to deal with a family emergency, let’s learn how to tell your coworker about a family emergency.

What will I learn?

It’s never easy to deal with a family emergency. But it’s important to let your employer or coworker know immediately. 

13 Steps To Tell Your Coworker About A Family Emergency

We are all human beings, and we all have our own unique set of circumstances. 

Sometimes, those circumstances can lead to family emergencies that require us to leave work. 

There are a few things you should keep in mind when telling your coworker about a family emergency.

1. Remain Calm:

Although it may be difficult, try to remain calm. This will help you deliver the news clearly and concisely. 

To remain calm, take a few deep breaths before speaking. Also, avoid getting defensive or emotional. 

For instance, state the facts if the coworker asks why you must leave. 

There’s no need to go into great detail about the situation. 

2. Be Clear and Concise:

When you are sharing the news, be clear and concise. This means you should avoid going into too much detail about the emergency. 

State what has happened and that you will be leaving work to deal with the situation. 

Family emergency - How To Tell Your Coworker About A Family Emergency

Rather than saying, “My grandmother is in the hospital, and I need to go see her,” try, “I’m sorry, but I have to leave work. My grandmother is in the hospital.” 

Or “I’m so sorry, but I have to leave work. My mom has a heart attack.” 

This way, you are giving your coworker the necessary information without going into unnecessary detail. 

3. Offer A Timeline:

If possible, offer a timeline for when you expect to return to work. This will help your employer or coworker plan for your absence. 

For instance, you might say, “I should be able to return to work tomorrow afternoon.” 

Or “I’m not sure when I’ll be able to come back, but I’ll keep you updated.” This way, your employer or coworker knows when they can expect you back.

And they can make arrangements accordingly when you are not there. And they can arrange for someone to cover your shift.

4. Ask For Help:

If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. This is especially true if you are the sole breadwinner for your family. 

For instance, you might say, “I’m so sorry, but I must leave work. My son has a seizure, and I need to take him to the hospital. I need someone to watch my other children. Do you have a nanny in mind?” 

In these cases, it’s essential to ask for help. And your employer or coworker should be more than willing to help you. 

5. Keep It, Professional:

Even though this is a personal issue, it’s essential to keep it professional. You should avoid getting too personal with your employer or coworker. 

For instance, you might say, “I’m so sorry, but I must leave work. My wife is having a miscarriage.” 

Or “I’m so sorry, but I have to leave work. My husband just left me, and I must deal with the fallout.” 

In these cases, it’s essential to keep your emotions in check. And to avoid getting too personal with your employer or coworker. 

6. Let Them Know How to Reach You:

Before you leave, let your employer or coworker know how they can reach you. This way, they can contact you if they need to. 

How they can reach you - How To Tell Your Coworker About A Family Emergency

For instance, you might say, “I’ll be at the hospital if you need to reach me.” Or “I’ll be at home if you need to reach me.” 

Or you might say, “I’m going to be out of town for a few days. But I’ll be available by email.”

Or “I might not be able to answer my phone. But I’ll check messages regularly.”

Please give them a phone number or email address where they can reach you. And let them know when you’ll be available. 

And then follow up with them when you return to work. Like, “I wanted to let you know I’m back at work now.” 

7. Understand That Everyone Is Different:

It’s important to remember that everyone is different. And that everyone will react differently to the news of a family emergency. 

Some people may be understanding and sympathetic, while others may not. They might be angry or upset that you are leaving work. 

And that’s okay. Just remember that everyone is different. And that you can’t control how they react. 

Instead, you can control how you react. For example, you might say, “I understand you’re upset. But I need to leave work.” 

Or “I’m sorry that you’re angry. But I need to go.” 

8. Don’t Feel Guilty:

It’s important not to feel guilty about leaving work. This is a family emergency. And you need to take care of your family. 

Your employer or coworker will understand. And if they don’t, that’s their problem, not yours. 

So don’t feel guilty about leaving work. You’re doing what’s best for your family.

And some things are just more important than work. And companies have policies in place for these types of situations. 

For instance, companies allow employees to take paid or unpaid leaves.

9. Follow Company Policy:

Be sure to follow your company’s policy on family emergencies. This will help to avoid any problems or conflicts. 

For instance, some companies may need that you notify your supervisor ahead of time. Or they may require that you submit a doctor’s note. 

Be sure to follow the company policy. And if you’re not sure, ask your supervisor or H.R. department. 

10. Have a Plan:

A plan is always a good idea. This way, you know what to do and who to contact in an emergency. 

For instance, you might have a plan for who will pick up your kids from school or daycare. Or who will take care of your pets

You might also have a plan for who will cover your work duties while you’re away. 

Having a plan will help to make the situation less stressful. And it will help to ensure that everything is taken care of.

Less stressful

Here is a checklist for what you can do to prepare for a family emergency: You should consider the following:

– How will my absence affect the workplace?

– Do I need to take time off?

– How much information should I share?

– Who should I tell?

– How can I best support my coworker or employer?

This way, you can be sure that you are ready for a family emergency. And that you are taking care of your responsibilities at work.

11. Thank Them For Understanding:

Be sure to thank your employer or coworker for understanding. This shows that you appreciate their support. 

And it might help to improve your relationship with them. 

Improve your relationship

For instance, you might say, “Thank you so much for understanding. I appreciate it.” 

Or “I’m so grateful for your support. Thank you.” They will most likely appreciate your thanks.

And they will probably be more understanding and supportive in the future. 

12. Keep Them Updated:

If possible, keep your employer or coworker updated on the situation. This way, they can be ready if anything changes. 

For instance, you might say, “I just wanted to let you know that my mom is still in the hospital.” 

Or “I’m not sure when I’ll be able to return to work. I’ll keep you updated.” 

This will help to keep them in the loop. And it will show that you’re still thinking about work even though you’re dealing with a family emergency.

13. Take Care of Yourself:

You can’t take care of your family if you’re not caring for yourself. So be sure to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally

This means eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. 

It also means taking time for yourself, whether reading, watching a movie, or spending time with friends. 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. You can’t help your family if you’re not healthy.

14. Do Not Be Irresponsible:

Being responsible is essential, even if you need to take time off of work. Deliver on your commitments

Be responsible

And don’t leave your employer or coworker in the lurch. For instance, if you’re supposed to give a presentation, try to find someone who can cover for you. 

Or, if you’re supposed to lead a project, make sure that someone else can take over for you. 

Don’t be irresponsible. This will only make the situation worse. And it could damage your relationship with your employer or coworker.

Notify Your Employer or Coworker as Soon as Possible – Email Version:

Email notify your employer or coworker about a family emergency as soon as possible. This will help to ensure that they are ready. 

Start with a subject line that is clear and concise. For instance, “Family Emergency.” 

Then, in the body of the email, be sure to include the following information: 

– Who gets affected by the emergency?

– What is the current status of the emergency?

– How long do you expect to be away from work?

– Who will be covering for you while you’re away?

– How can they reach you if they need to?


Subject: Family Emergency

Hi boss/coworker,

I wanted to let you know that I have a family emergency. I have to take care of my sick mom/dad. 

Thus, I’ll be out of the office for a few days. But I can still do some work from home. 

I will keep you updated on the situation. And I will do my best to ensure that my work is covered. 

Thank you for understanding.


Your name

So now you know how to tell your employer or coworker about a family emergency. Just be sure to be clear, concise, and responsible. 

Final Word:

To tell your coworker about a family emergency, start by telling them what happened. Then, let them know how long you’ll be out of the office. 

Thank them for understanding and offer to keep them updated. Finally, take care of yourself. 

Moreover, remember to be responsible. This way, you can ensure that your work is covered while you’re away.

Last Updated on 10 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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