Document Type


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Journal Title

Business and Professional Communication Quarterly

Publication Date



As of August 2022, COVID-19 continues to affect our daily lives in physical, psychological, and financial ways. Many vulnerable individuals are struggling to adapt to returning to work and as a result, employee morale is at risk. In times of crises, empathy is needed in the workplace to support one another, but many leaders and employees may not have a firm grasp of the concept. This article seeks to define empathetic communication and explore the need for prioritizing empathy amid the current post-COVID-19 workplace. Through a literature review of empathy, psychological safety in the workplace, and crisis leadership, the author explains how the development of empathetic communication must be intentional to achieve sustainable change and lead to long-term organizational success. Practical recommendations are provided on how organizations should define empathetic communication, provide training for leaders and employees, and incorporate empathetic communication as a standard of responsibility for every employee to be assessed on a regular basis.


This document is the author's accepted manuscript version of an article that appears in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.

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Reuse of this document is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.

Full citation:

Caffrey, Kevin T. 2023. “Speaking to the Head and the Heart: Prioritizing Empathetic Communication in the Post-COVID Workplace.” Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.