Curo Carers is an employee wellbeing platform that supports people to juggle work and care. In this post they raise awareness for the growing issue of working carers and outline top tips businesses can implement to improve conditions for both their employees and the organisation.
Looking after Loved Ones - A Hidden Issue
Most of us spend time relaxing when we’re not working. Millions of us though, spend our spare time looking after loved ones. If someone is feeling under the weather we might put ourselves forward to make a brew, be a shoulder to cry on, or to pick up bits and bobs they need when we’re out shopping. Most of the time this is fine for us, we barely notice the difference in our lives as we go to work, enjoy our spare time and be a good family member / friend.
But, maybe things start to change. Maybe as Dad gets a bit older he falls more than he used to. Maybe finding suitable places for our child with additional needs to go to when school’s out wears us down. Or maybe our sister’s depression is making conversations trickier to have than before.
“A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support”.
The label of a ‘carer’ can be quite overwhelming - with each of us feeling that we couldn’t possibly be a carer, that someone else out there puts more hours in than we do and faces tougher challenges. What we at Curo Carers realise though, is that whether you’re providing 1 hour or 100 hours of support for a loved one, it can take a toll - affecting work and life.
What this means for you as an Employer
As a result of the pandemic one in four of us juggle work and care. This means that one in four colleagues are not only thinking about Zoom calls, deadlines and providing excellent customer service but also about whether their loved ones are washed, fed and safe.
In the last 2 years alone, 500,000 people (600 a day) have given up work to care for loved ones, because the pressure of doing both is simply too much. As the population ages and the number of carers rise, the effects of carers leaving the workplace are only going to grow.
In March 2020 the Government launched a ‘Consultation on Carers’ Leave’, which recognised that ‘unpaid carers face particular challenges in balancing work and caring responsibilities’. It’s estimated that businesses could gain £8.2bn by better supporting carers. Employers now, more than ever, need to support their talented employees who juggle work and care.
Three Ways to Support Working Carers
Caring is tough in the best of times, let alone amidst a global pandemic. It’s vital that carers get the support they deserve.
Employers who are interested in supporting their colleagues should aim to:
- Help carers self-identify as carers. Most people who care for loved ones don’t think they are carers. On average it takes carers 2 years to self-identify. They believe they’re simply doing the day-to-day tasks like shopping, cleaning and cooking that any good family or friend would do. Identifying earlier means less disruption when it comes to juggling work and care.
- Support employees with flexible working arrangements so that working carers can attend appointments and emergencies. Carers frequently have to deal with caring responsibilities during work-time. Allowing for flexibility reduces the dual pressures working carers face, and enables carers to remain both present and engaged with work.
- Facilitate spaces where people can share personal experiences - accessing emotional and practical support from each other and experts. Cultivating an in-person or, increasingly, digital space for sharing is relieving and empowering.
“Nobody knows what it’s like to be a carer other than carers themselves”.
Curo is an employee wellbeing platform that supports people to juggle work and care. We experienced the trials and tribulations of juggling work and care and are building the support we wish we had.
We empower carers to proactively manage their wellbeing and thrive at work. We provide employers and their working carers with:
- Knowledge Hub - Crowdsourced, personalised, Q&A connecting carers to knowledge, resources and tips.
- Expert Support - Carer coaches, healthcare professionals and social care experts providing extra guidance and resources.
Working carers who we support have said that: “Being a carer often feels like you are running blind, and this service is someone leading you through the journey, supporting you from the sidelines”. 100% say they can better juggle work and care and that they feel more supported by their employer.
Employers we work with - such as the CBI - say: “Staff have benefitted hugely from the support that Curo offer, especially during such a challenging time for many colleagues”.
By keeping working carers and employers at the heart of what we do, we improve outcomes for individuals, businesses and the wider economy. Our experience supporting working carers and employers has given us unique insight into the changing needs of business. If you work in HR, People and/or Benefits and are interested in accessing top tips to become a carer friendly workplace, access our guide here.
You can contact our partnerships and research team to learn more about our work and what you can do to improve your ability to attract new employees, boost productivity and retain talent by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curo is an employee wellbeing platform that supports people to juggle work and care. We provide employers and their working carers:
- Knowledge Hub - Crowdsourced, personalised, Q&A connecting carers to knowledge, resources and tips,
- Expert Support - Carer coaches, healthcare professionals and social care experts providing extra guidance,
So that they can proactively manage their wellbeing and thrive at work.