This annual campaign is one I particularly feel passionate about, my mom had terminal COPD (lung disease) as a result of smoking (we believe) and suffered for a number of years with reoccurring chest infections and numerous hospital admissions . She lived alone with a wonderful team of carers around her but as her daughter, working full time with a family of 3 at home, I often felt I could of done more.
The whole purpose of this post is to raise awareness of the contribution carers bring to individuals and their communities and to ask you to consider if you are supporting your workforce where caring responsibility falls upon your employees?
CIPD & Westfield Health recently did this report and I want to highlight some of the key elements with you.
Within our ageing population and with the current financial challenges our NHS face, the number of carers in the UK is set to grow from 6 million to 30 million in the next 30 years. I know this just seems like numbers but the reality is that this could be your mother, father or even your child. 50% of the 6 million people that are current carers; work. They are playing a juggling act and often their own well being suffers as a result of this. I know to well how my mental health spiralled as a result of this challenge.
As this is a growing concern for society, so should it be on your Organisations agenda too. Its like a ticking time bomb in my opinion, so now is your opportunity to look in to this in more detail. If I told you your profitability was going to drop by 30% over the next 10 years, it would make you stand up and listen surely? Of course it would and the wellbeing of workers/carers in work is no different.
So what can you do?
Review your working practises
Empower your people to respond to carers responsibilities as much as possible with flexible working. Consider reviewing their contracted hours, reducing from full time to part time for a fixed period of time. Encourage line managers to have those sensitive conversations to ensure their careers are negatively impacted by their caring responsibilities. When your looking to attract new talent in to your business consider that carers could be part of that pool.
In the report; Carers Employees were asked which organisational approach to supporting carers they would prefer
Organisation 1: Gives employees with caring responsibilities permission to respond as they need (with minimal involvement in their personal lives) Organisation 2: Highly engaged in/supportive of employees with caring responsibilities (a handholding response to employees with caring responsibilities)
62% prefer the response of Organisation 1
18% prefer the response of Organisation 2
11% prefer neither and 10% don’t know
So which of the 2 Organisations are you? Do you have a policy in place?
You have a social responsibility to ensure that you look at your staff’s wellbeing, so take this opportunity as we are half way into carers week to raise the question ‘What do we do for carers?’, with your manager, HR department or your employer.
Its sad because in October 2014 I lost my mom to COPD and the one main regret I have is that I could of been there more for her but I didn’t ask for help from my employer. In my case it was to late but it could be different for you and the people you employ.