INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS OF PEOPLE COMBINING UNPAID CARING WITH WORK
Across all occupations and industries, employees can find they need to combine unpaid caring responsibilities with work. Sometimes the role of carer gradually creeps up on an employee unawares - other times it happens in the answering of a phone call.
I use the word ‘carer’ to describe someone who helps a family member or close friend who, because of an accident, disability, illness or frailty could not manage otherwise. However, it’s worth noting that, for the same definition, others might use the term ‘caregiver’, with the words ‘informal’ or ‘family’ sometimes preceding ‘carer’ or ‘caregiver’.
The importance of being a carer-friendly workplace
- In many countries, more than one in nine people in workplaces are juggling care and work1.
- Employees are most likely to become carers at the peak of their careers. The more experienced a staff member, the higher the costs of replacing them if they leave, and the greater the loss of resources and knowledge2.
- The number of working-age carers is set to increase significantly as the population and workforce ages3.
- The benefits of supporting carers to successfully continue working include increased staff morale, greater productivity, reduced employee stress and lower staff turnover (with significantly less disruption, recruitment and training costs).
The first time some employers know that one of their employees is a carer is when, feeling overwhelmed by their work, caring and other commitments, that employee resigns4.
Fortunately there are parts of the world where employers have introduced policies that provide carers with better support. However, positive as this is, in order for the spirit of these supportive policies to become an integral part of work culture, we believe more needs to happen.
Juggling Care and Catching the Smiles helps employers with this by providing a practical and easy-to-implement way of supporting employees who are juggling work and care. Available as online courses, it does this by enabling self-paced personal development through access to a wealth of useful information. With the focus on how it relates to their caring situation, it covers topics such as time management, stress reduction, effective communication, learning techniques, team building and proactive planning. Inspired by coaching principles, care-related exercises and examples develop the relevance of this learning to each person’s own particular situation. Employees can then build structure into their lives and successfully balance their work, caring and other commitments in ways that are fair for them, their employer and their colleagues.
Adopting this collaborative approach helps carers produce well-thought-out practical requests that are more likely to be agreed by their employers. It also fosters the kind of work culture where managers and colleagues are more understanding and supportive of carers and each other in their workplace. Not only does this encourage a more resilient workforce but, when evident at interview, it can be key in attracting quality workers.
The Juggling Care and Catching the Smiles Testimonies provide an insight into the courses' transformative benefits. Many of the carers who have completed our online courses wish they had done so before they became carers. It is thought that 3 out of 5 of us will become carers at some point in our lives. The affordability of Juggling Care and Catching the Smiles enables employers to offer it widely to caregiving employees, along with those employees who think that caring might be on the horizon.