Caregiving Will Transform Your Business: Are You Ready?
Studies show that absenteeism, workplace interruptions, and employee replacement costs lead to large losses. And while many companies today interpret this data and correctly recognize the need to support workers who are parents, too few have acknowledged the need to also support workers with parents.
With 10,000 people turning 65 every day in this country, the American workplace is about to be transformed. As the number of working caregivers increase, savvy businesses will focus on supporting and retaining these employees. Here’s how.
1) Offer flexible work schedules.
Flexibility is critical for caregivers. It can mean the difference between shifting a schedule for an hour to accommodate a home health aide’s schedule, or taking a few hours off to bring a parent to a medical appointment, rather than taking an entire day off.
[Related: 7 Ways to Offer Flex Work At Your Company]
2) Apply benefits equally to childcare, eldercare, spousal care, etc.
Make sure working daughters and sons know that your policies and benefits apply to them as well as to working parents by creating policies for “family caregivers.”
And as important as offering these benefits is, so too is communicating them to all employees. Workers who take time off to care for an adult family member often feel stigmatized in the workplace. That’s because, unlike parenting, eldercare is often invisible at work.
3) Create a compassionate culture.
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.
No two eldercare situations are the same, and no two employees will approach their caregiving responsibilities in the same way. That being said, having a peer to talk with about the challenges of eldercare can go a long way in helping a caregiving employee.
5) Offer referrals and subsidies for eldercare services.
Caregivers often struggle to find convenient and reliable help and resources for their aging parents. But it doesn't have to be this way - and you can help.
Task your HR department with building a database of companies and services to which they can refer your employees - from financial planners to senior living referrals to concierge services to back-up eldercare. Even better, offer subsidies for these services.
There’s no need for caregiving to lead to an exodus in the workplace. Career development and caregiving can be compatible, as long as companies take the time to create a plan.
Liz O'Donnell is the founder of Working Daughter, a community for women balancing eldercare, careers, and more. An award-winning writer, she recently published her second book, Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Earning A Living, which Library Journal named one of the Best Books of 2019.
Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.
Liz is the founder of Working Daughter, a community for women balancing eldercare, career, and more. An award-winning writer, she recently published her second book, Working Daughter: A Guide to Caring for Your Aging Parents While Earning A Living, which Library Journal named one of the Best Books of 2019. A former family caregiver, she is a recognized expert on working while caregiving and has written on the topic for many outlets including The Atlantic, Forbes,... Continue Reading
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