COVID-19: Supporting carers at work

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Health Assured team

28 June 2020

According to research from Carers UK, 43% of carers feel that their colleagues and managers do not understand the impact of their caring responsibilities.

 

As we approach Good Care Month 2020, many employers use the awareness event as an opportunity to review how their workplaces support the needs of their employees who provide care.

 

According to the figures, you may not be aware of how many carers you employ. For instance, Carers UK report that one in seven of your workforce are likely to be carers for an older, disabled or ill person, but many will not self-identify as carers.

 

Combine this with the ongoing global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of carers within your organisation will likely of increased - due to those with caring temporarily for people affected by the virus.

 

Clearly, there has never been a more important time for employers to ensure that they are providing appropriate support to those providing life-changing care.

 

In this guidance, we will cover why it’s imperative that organisations look after carers and the best ways of offering support.

 

Why should I support carers?

Increased absences - Caring for an individual is a rewarding and selfless act that has numerous benefits for a carers mental wellbeing, such as increased self-esteem and confidence. However, combining a hectic work and home life as well as caring duties can be mentally and physically draining, and put the carer at risk of becoming burnt out. If left unchecked, your organisation could soon see a rise in absences.

 

Lack of retention - If carers continue to feel as though they aren’t being supported at work, they may have to make the choice to leave their employer. Research has found that 600 people give up work every day to provide care - with over 45’s being the most likely age group to do so.

 

Supporting carers during COVID-19

  • Self-identify - Many of your employees may not consider themselves as a carer. Encourage your people to self-identify and ask their line managers to discuss what support you provide.
  • Carer policies - Make sure that you review your current carer polices - considering the impact of COVID-19 has had on your employees. For example, flexible working, carer and emergency leave.
  • Spread the word - Due to the recent virus outbreak, some of your employees may have become carers for the first time. As a result, they may not be aware of the support available to them, so it’s important that you promote the support that you provide to your employees via newsletters, and bulletin boards.
  • Health & wellbeing - Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, those providing care could be potentially putting themselves at risk. Help alleviate this risk by communicating the latest government guidelines and health advice to your team members.

 

Overall, balancing work and providing care for an individual is a truly exceptional act. It takes dedication, time management, focus and motivation - attributes that any organisation would be lucky to have in their employees.

 

It’s important that employers do their best to support carers in any way that they can. Their reward will be a healthier and happier workforce, who contribute to a positive work environment and culture - something that all organisations can benefit from during these challenging times.

 

 

If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324

 

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