You might not be aware of it, but many of your employees are caregivers. In fact, stats from the Family Caregiver Alliance show that a whopping one in six American workers is a caregiver for a relative or friend. On average, they spend more than 20 hours a week tending to their loved one’s needs.
To put that into perspective, there are 168 hours in a week. Forty of those are spent working and 56 spent sleeping. That leaves just 72 hours of “free” time (without taking into account eating, bathing and all those other necessities). If they’re a caregiver? More than a quarter of that time goes to someone else.
It’s no wonder that caregivers say they’re stressed, anxious and lonely. It’s also no surprise that the impact trickles down to the workplace, affecting attendance, productivity, efficiency — and your bottom line.
Want to prevent caregiving-caused problems at your organization? Then supporting your caregiver employees is paramount. Here are 3 steps you can take to do that:
Make it a point to understand what caregiving obligations your employees are facing, and be sure managers and supervisors are clued-in. This can help them put employee actions into context and, ideally, lead them toward appropriate solutions when problems arise. You should also train team members on the health impacts of caregiving, too. Caregivers often suffer from depression, deal with social isolation and loneliness, and turn to substance abuse.
Construct caregiving-friendly policies and programs.
This can include an array of actions, from tweaking your leave, flex time and sick day policies to reviewing your benefit plans to ensure there is coverage for mental health care. You might also consider adding a few paid days off for caregivers. These can be used by caregivers in the traditional sense of the word or even new parents after the birth of a child.
- Creating a caregiver resource list that can point them toward helpful agencies and services
- Utilizing online or tech-enabled care planning and health navigator services to ease their burden
- Offering an employee assistance program to cover certain caregiving-related costs
A caregiving support group can also be a good way to provide your employees with the tools they need to succeed. Consider tapping your HR department to spearhead this initiative.
It’s not enough for you and a few managers to understand the scope of caregiving and its impact on your business. To truly support your caregiving employees, the entire organization needs to be behind it — from your C-suite team down to your interns.
For higher-ups, this might mean pulling out the stats and focusing on the numbers. How much is caregiving impacting your bottom line? How much is it deteriorating your employees’ health (and increasing your benefit costs)? For your staff, it might take one-on-one meetings to help them better understand the struggles their coworkers are going through — as well as why they might be missing work or falling behind on certain projects.
Give Your Employees the Support They Need
Do you want to better support your caregiving employees? Request a demo to understand how Uphold Health can help your employees.