Providing Help for Caregivers Within the Workplace

by | 10 Apr, 2021

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Many Americans today support their parents or another member of the elderly community. It’s estimated that nearly one in six full-time workers must all support an aging family member. Corporations and businesses, unfortunately, are usually not helpful in assisting with their employees’ needs, which complicates the lives of workers and puts them in a position to become overly stressed and hampers work performance.

Investing in caregiving functions can actually help your employees in ways you may not have thought of, helping them work more effectively and keep up with their workflow and responsibilities more easily and effectively. There are several benefits you can offer caregivers which won’t take away from your bottom line or cost too much time or energy on the part of your company. Here are just a few things you can do to support those who support others within your organization.

Discover the Caregivers Within Your Company

The first step to helping caregivers in your company is to figure out who the caregivers are and where they work within your organizations. “Caregivers” are those who support elderly parents or other relatives or even those people who support disabled spouses or children. The routine for these employees at home is difficult and often quite stressful.

Some caregivers work with other family members to properly care for their parents or children, but not all of them do. You can actually tailor your benefits for caregivers based on what they do and what resources you can use. Caregivers often find that their jobs are inflexible and don’t gel with the work they do when taking care of their wards, but your company can change this.

The problem is more prevalent than you may think, too. Nearly sixty-five million Americans provide care for either the elderly or disabled, which is more than a third of the one hundred and sixty million-strong workforce.

Provide Education

Caregivers rarely know what benefits are available to them, both through your company and through additional organizations. Your HR department could be trained to provide this information and help your company’s caregivers provide more satisfactory care with less stress and rigidness. There are several resources online which provide great information for caregivers, such as AARP, Caregiver.org, and Eldersource.org.

These resources are dedicated to helping out people all over the country who have no one else to turn to. There are also programs within the community which frequently help caregivers manage their responsibilities. You can also provide daycare facilities or geriatric care manager networks. A well-tooled and efficient HR department should be able to find several local programs where your employees can turn for help and support.

Consider Giving Paid Leave to Caregivers

In addition to providing resources and education, your company can consider giving your caregiver employees paid leave. Companies often differentiate their paid leave types, such as vacation days, sick days, and personal days, but you can also group all of these into one category and give your employees the option to take a few hours off every now and again in order to care for their ward.

You can hire a PEO to help manage these benefits and paid time off. Your caregiving employees will be refreshed and more efficient when they return to work and their stress levels will decrease significantly with only a few hours here and there to care more effectively. This may seem like a radical proposal, but it benefits both you and your employees.

Implement More Flexible Schedules

There are some industries that simply can’t offer flexible working hours, such as the service and retail industries. Corporate jobs, however, can often offer a more flexible schedule without work being missed or going undone. Employees who work regular desk jobs can often work on their own schedule without affecting their level of work and productivity.

For example, aside from collaboration on projects, starting later in the day shouldn’t hamper their ability to accomplish all of their work goals and help your company innovate. These flexible hours will give them more time to spend with who they have to take care of and allow them to fully focus on their work when they’re done with their caregiving duties. Giving employees a flexible schedule will help them get their personal lives in order before turning their full attention to your company.

Additional Considerations

Besides these suggestions, there are other considerations you can make to help your employees who must take care of their families. These additional considerations can be facilitated and implemented through your HR department. You can provide services to help connect employees with healthcare providers and offer support through third-party organizations.

You can also provide access to nurses and other additional caregivers to alleviate your employees’ time and energy responsibilities. You can seek out and recommend community advocates, who can help your employees with insurance claims that they may not be able to handle themselves or never knew to consider. Finally, you can create a network of internal caregiver resources to help bring together multiple employees who must deal with the challenge of taking care of their loved ones.

As you grow and reimagine the workplace and your organizations, so too do the challenges grow. Learn more about freeing yourself up to do more with Navigate PEO today. We’re happy to help with an initial, free HR consultation and are located near Boston, MA and we service the New England region and the entire nation.

References:

https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/public_policy_institute/ltc/2012/understanding-impact-family-caregiving-work-AARP-ppi-ltc.pdf

https://blog.accessperks.com/the-caregiving-crisis-in-the-workplace-what-it-is-and-how-to-face-it

Tom DiSilva
Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design. . He is an active member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), Professional Association of Co-Employers (PACE), and The American Payroll Association (APA). He is deeply committed to giving back to the community both personally and through Navigate Cares, which provides support for several nonprofit organizations such as the USO, The Boys & Girls Club, and the 3Point Foundation.

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.