It is common knowledge that missed workdays, workplace interruptions, and employee replacement costs lead to large financial consequences for businesses. Many companies recognize that employees can struggle to balance their work with caregiving responsibilities. To alleviate this, many employers offer support and flexibility to their workers. However, it seems that most employers tailor this support to workers with children, rather than to workers caring for their own parents.
A recent article in Forbes magazine stressed the transformation that is needed in American workplaces to adjust for the needs of our growing older adult population. To support working caregivers, the article gave a few recommendations for businesses who want to support and retain their caregiver-employees. Here are some recommendations:
1. Offer flexible work schedules: Flexibility is crucial for working caregivers, as it can allow them to take their loved one to an appointment or perform other duties without taking an entire workday off.
2. Apply benefits equally to childcare and eldercare: It is important to understand the needs of all types of caregivers and to create policies applicable to varying situations. Similarly, it is important to communicate with employees to ensure they are aware of the assistance offered.
3. Create a compassionate culture: According to the aforementioned Forbes article,
The simplest way to make your workplace more caregiver-friendly is to cultivate a culture of compassion. Understand that caregiving isn't just about time and tasks; it is an emotional and sometimes heartbreaking responsibility. Small and genuine gestures can go a long way in making a caregiver feel supported.
4. Develop a mentor program: It is important to realize that no two caregivers have the exact same caregiving responsibilities. However, being in touch with a co-worker who is experiencing similar challenges outside of work can be very supportive for working caregivers.
If you are a working caregiver and your employer doesn't offer all of the above support, consider advocating for assistance! More than 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day and as a result there is a growing number of family caregivers in the workforce. By advocating for support, you might just help ease the stress of a few of your co-workers who are having similar experiences.
Source: O'Donnell, Liz. (2020, June 25). Caregiving Will Transform Your Business: Are You Ready? Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2020/06/25/caregiving-will-transform-your-business-are-you-ready/