1 in 5 working adults are exhausted — physically, mentally, and financially — as they struggle to manage care for aging, chronically ill, or disabled family members. Despite the prevalence, there is no support or infrastructure to help, and many caregivers risk their careers, personal well-being, and finances to help manage care.
Caregiving has never been more complex. According to a recent national survey we performed 48% of respondents with caregiving responsibilities have increased how much time per week they are spending on care-related activities since COVID-19. Families are having to navigate a fragmented healthcare system with a laundry list of caregiving responsibilities that don’t come with instructions — on top of demanding jobs, challenges with childcare, and the added stress and anxieties brought on by a global pandemic.
For employers, supporting working caregivers is an opportunity to invest in total well-being, manage healthcare costs, and see returns in loyalty, retention, and productivity. And for family caregivers, support can make a world of difference.
Here are some ways companies can offer employee caregivers significant and sustained relief:
Create a Culture of Care
Caring companies should have a culture of support and open dialogue, generous and inclusive leave programs, opportunities for counseling, and access to resources that can help families navigate whatever they may be dealing with outside of work. Doing what you can to establish this sort of reputation as an employer pays for itself many times over. It can make a big difference in recruitment and retention of employee caregivers.
Managing care requires a ton of time for families with already busy schedules, and often includes tasks that can’t be performed outside of regular work hours. They’re meeting with specialists, facilitating transportation, navigating bills and insurance claims, and so much more. Providing and encouraging flexible work arrangements helps ease the burden for hard-working employees, and gives families time back to focus on themselves.
Offer Innovative Benefits
Third-party caregiving support services, such as Wellthy, provided by employers can provide family caregivers with comprehensive support from all angles. These services connect families with a dedicated Care Coordinator to help tackle the logistical and administrative tasks of care on the family’s behalf — setting up a plan, making the calls, getting the appointments, filling out the paperwork, and doing what needs to get done. It can be a valuable benefit for employees as part of your Employee Assistance Program.
Taking steps to ensure workplaces are caregiver-friendly is not only smart for business, but can be life changing on a personal level to massive segments of the workforce that have been silently struggling for far too long.
Growth Marketing Associate