Tips for while maintaining workplace productivity while supporting family caregivers.
Who are caregivers?
A family caregiver is anyone who is providing care and support for an adult or child who lives with a disability, is in poor health or frail. It can be full or part time, in person or long-distance and in a private home or a care facility. Today, one in 4 Canadians is a family caregivers so your workplace is bound to be affected.
Caregiving can be provided for:
• Parent or friend who is aging or living with dementia
• Someone recovering from an injury or illness
• A child or adult with a disability (physical, intellectual or mental health related)
The responsibilities of a person caring for an adult might include some or all of these duties depending on the circumstances:
• Assisting with day-to-day care and supervision, medical needs, meals and transportation.
• Household maintenance and shopping.
• Escorting to doctors, specialists and hospital appointments.
• Emotional support and guidance.
• Bill paying and financial management.
Caregiving can be lonely, stressful and physical and emotionally challenging. Research shows that the majority of caregivers are women in their mid-forties but as our population ages, caregiving is affecting a much more diverse group of people with differing needs and circumstances.
Is employee caregiving affecting your company?
Each circumstance is different but estimates suggest that the cost in lost productivity as well as the personal, economic and social costs for family caregivers and employers nationwide is in the billions of dollars due to a combination of workplace interruptions.
Research shows that family caregivers have higher absenteeism rates and can experience increased lateness and need for time off.
While on the job they may face distraction due to worry and fatigue and get worn down themselves and require more sick time.
They may face additional interruptions from personal telephone calls and emails, appointments and emergencies that must be handled during work time.
The bigger picture for employers is that when employees become family caregivers it can have a challenging affect the business. The impacts include:
• Less availability for overtime and training of others
• Loss of knowledge and experience when staff person is absent
• Decreased capacity for promotions or professional development
• A caregiver’s decision to take early retirement to provide care *Cost related to hiring new employees.