Let’s talk more about how to care for your caregivers with dignity >>
In the past 15 years, the number of adult children caring for elderly and/or ill parents has tripled itself. One out of four (mostly Baby Boomers) is caring for a parent while being in the midst of their careers and aspirations beyond caring for their children and possibly grandchildren. In fact, they are identified as the Sandwich Generation, and as life expectancy keeps increasing, they may constitute one of the most vulnerable groups in society in the very near future.
For the most part, caregiving strikes suddenly, without notice, adequate preparation, or a clear understanding of what it will entail. Typically, most of the population feels overwhelmed while balancing their normal family obligations with their day-to-day jobs. Taking care of an elderly or ill family member in addition to all that, makes it even more difficult, leading to imminent stress and rapid burnout. Undoubtedly, caregiving is a full-time job demanding an extremely high emotional, physical, and financial price.
This relatively newish phenomenon in the workplace is on the rise. Subsequently, employers ought to recognize the difficulties of these employees, share their concerns, and provide some support and assistance It is wise to keep them actively engaged, ensure their place within the company, and safeguard them as loyal and productive employees while offering empathy and help. Therefore, it’s important to seek out the caregivers within the company, sympathize with them, and acknowledge their struggles, so they truly feel cared for. It’s important to promote and sustain an inclusive culture in which caregivers are treated with extra care and respect, aiding them in their work-life balance and promoting their career goals. Here are some ways to help support these employees in the workplace:
- Allow for flexibility: Working full-time can make it difficult to attend health appointments. It can be extremely beneficial for the caregiver to be able to work remotely, allocate time for caretaking during their work hours, or flex their schedule to accommodate medical appointments, which ultimately will reduce stress and increase productivity.
- Foster trusting relationships: Caregivers are often afraid of being perceived as less committed to their jobs and, as a result, could potentially lose their jobs or be overlooked for promotions. They often try to hide the fact that they get distracted at work while being mentally, physically, and financially overextended. The strain eventually can even cause many of them to resign. Others may feel ashamed or wrongly think that no one else wishes to hear about their difficult experiences. Hence, fostering strong, trusting relationships can create a “safe” environment for sharing and getting reassurance for themselves.
- Harbor a supportive environment: The sense of community, offering the needed accommodations, and preventing caregivers from feeling alone is essential to making the caregivers feel valued and supported. Depending on the organization, financial assistance, therapies, and emotional support may be offered to employees and their families. However, employers play a much bigger role than those mentioned above. In order to reduce some of the caregivers’ load with the added stress and commitments, employers should explore and inform them of their rights, benefits, and resources available to them, such as social, community, welfare, and government programs.
- Generate a sense of belonging: There can never be enough emphasis placed on authentic belonging. Being part of a caregiver community relieves some of the pressures and improves their overall well-being. It allows caregivers the opportunity to share their experiences, learn from one another, and release steam, all at the same time. As a member of a community, one does not feel like an outsider or a visitor, but rather among friends as a supported family member. Furthermore, it enables better communication between employees and HR, as they can discuss their situation and needs with more ease when they belong to a community.
Since about 20% of the workforce are caregivers, and the numbers will continue to climb up, establishing a Caregiver ERG is essential to create a supportive and welcoming environment. The sense of belonging to a group that promotes their cause is key to preventing them from feeling alone and makes it easier for them to approach the company for their needs as well as work alongside HR. The caregiving community in the organization enables sharing and provides helpful information, advocacy, and resources available to ease up the struggle and engages them, ensuring their fulfillment.
Xtra-Mile, as a leading life-cycle marketing agency, helps organizations lead their caregiving community to success. By following our approach and methodology, you will be able to support your employees during their difficult life transitions. Xtra-Mile will gladly:
- Give the caregivers a platform to communicate and foster a sense of belonging amongst each other
- Raise awareness throughout the company and management
- Provide information about rights, benefits, and resources available
- Facilitate effective communication between caregivers and management
Manage the caregiver community – create & develop a work plan to meet mutually agreed-upon objectives