It is estimated that as many as 15% of the entire workforce are managing informal caregiving responsibilities. All carers – whether in employment or not – need financial, wellbeing and practical support. As a manager, your role in this support network is crucial.
As managers, you will naturally use a combination of “soft” and “hard” tools to guide your teams through tasks, projects and their day-to-day role. The same applies to supporting your direct reports who are also juggling work and caregiving responsibilities.
Here, Seniorcare by Lottie provides 4 key ways in which, as a manager, you can best support your team.
1. Know your policies.
As a manager, be proactive and ensure both you, and members of your team are aware of your company’s carer policy or framework. This applies to both government statutory rights for carers in the workplace, as well as your company’s contractual obligations, offered to employees in their contract of employment.
Statutory rights include:
- The right to request flexible working arrangements
- The right to time off in emergencies
- The right to protection from discrimination
It’s also crucial that you also understand what it is to be a ‘carer’. 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 addiction and cannot cope without their support.
2. Encourage team members to open up
Above all, as a manager, it’s important to be there for members of your team who are managing caregiving responsibilities. By simply communicating with your team, what exactly it is to ‘be a carer’, you are providing a safe space to colleagues to explore their rights around practical support that they are entitled to, in order to manage work and their caregiving responsibilities.
Employees who are also carers, are likely to feel worried, anxious or stressed. Something as small as a 20 minute chat every week will provide them a place to safely and securely come forward when they are ready. Once they do come forward, take their worries seriously, and create an action plan together to help to manage any work-and-home responsibilities.
You can also lead by example, and share any worries you may also be facing. This will help you connect with your colleagues, and show you are empathetic to their concerns. Sharing your own worries can also help you manage your own mental health.
3. Offer genuine, practical support
Encourage employees to take advantage of rights offered to them, both in terms of statutory rights, and contractual rights. These rights could consist of: implementing flexible working arrangements, mental health support and even career breaks.
As well as this, if an employee has been forced to take an extended period of time off due to caring responsibilities, you can take practical steps to ensure their return to work is as seamless as possible. You could schedule some time to check-in with them when they are back in the office. This can be to discuss practical things they have missed during their time off, or simply to connect and check on their wellbeing over a cup of tea.
4. Share resources
Being a carer and juggling full-time work is a challenge. Care homes or in-home care can be an alternative to ensure that a loved one is supported and cared for. For instance, if an employee’s elderly relative requires around-the-clock care, a nursing home can provide this with their well trained staff who are on-hand 24/7.
Seniorcare by Lottie provides the resources to help your employees understand, find and fund these care resources.
To find out more about how you can access Seniorcare by Lottiie services on behalf of your employees, visit our website here.