Supporting carers in the workplace

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Health Assured team

23 August 2022

1 in 7 UK workers are caring for an older, disabled or seriously ill family member or friend.

A survey from Carers UK found that over a third of these workers were anxious that caring would impact their capacity to work in the future.

Clearly, caring for a loved one is an extremely difficult, time-consuming and sensitive task, and carers who make sweeping changes to their lives—and livelihoods—deserve praise. But many more carers remain part of the workforce, despite the additional stresses and concerns that care brings. That's why it's important that employers take the time to recognise these struggles and consider how they can help.  

This September, just like every September, we celebrate World Alzheimer's Month and World Alzheimer's Day on the 21st of September. Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia, which affects over 900,000 people in the UK. Caring for someone with dementia can be rewarding, but it's also challenging. So how can you support your employees? Below we've highlighted some ways you can make a difference.



Employees do not legally have to notify their employer that they are a carer. However, employers should encourage open dialogue at the right opportunity, to promote an open work culture.

Checking on an employee's wellbeing regularly during catch-ups and/or appraisals can encourage this open dialogue. It can also provide opportunities for employees to raise anything that may be impacting their general wellbeing.

If employees do raise caring concerns allow them a non-judgemental space to get things off their chest. If you can show your support it lets employees know they have somewhere to turn to if they need it. 


Flexible working practices

Carers have a lot of responsibilities to manage. A great way to make their life a little easier is to ensure that they have some room to attend to caring tasks as and when they arise. Even if this simply means moving their start and finish times forward by an hour, this can be the difference between rushing to prepare for the day and being secure in the knowledge that their caring responsibilities are in hand.

Job-sharing and allowing remote working will give a carer more time to spend at home. However, it is important that they have structures and support in to allow them to complete their work, as they would being present in the workplace.


Management support

Knowing that management is sympathetic will help your employees with caring responsibilities come forward with their issues. Your senior members of staff should have training in understanding these issues—simply knowing how to be supportive and empathetic when a carer first approaches can make the difference between them continuing work, or taking time off.

You could offer training to managers to help them understand how caring can impact an employee's life. Research shows that caring can lead to poor mental and physical health as well as loneliness and financial worries. These are issues that can seep into the workplace too, so it's helpful if managers can be sensitive to this. 


Open wellness culture

Promote and encourage openness around mental and physical wellbeing in your workplace. Not only will this help carers to speak up about any issues they may face and the help you can provide, but it’ll also create a more pleasant atmosphere for everyone in general.

Provide resources and opportunities for healthiness—healthy snacks, educational literature and social functions can help. Senior management sharing stories of their own difficulties can be greatly encouraging as well—it lets people know that everyone suffers from the same issues.

Carers are a valuable asset. And with a rapidly ageing population, more and more people may need to take on a caring role along with their workload. Be prepared and open about your acceptance of this, and show a genuine desire to help—and you’ll be making a difference to a lot of lives.

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

0844 892 2493

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