At Shell, a flexible workplace is already a reality. Eleanor Silverio, the oil giant’s UK benefits policy lead, says: “I don’t sense any kind of stigma for those choosing eldercare initiatives. People in our [organisation] are used to balancing challenging home and work demands, supported by the flexible workplace environment we have created, so eldercare is no different.
“If an employee needs some unexpected time off and is able to make the time up, then that isn’t a problem. Employees are judged by their productivity rather than by the need to be ever-present.”
In addition, Shell offers a consultancy service to employees, provided by My Family Care. “This means our employees have experts at hand that they can go to with any concerns or issues about eldercare, whether that is discussing government legislation, queries about permanent or temporary care for relatives or issues related to caring for the elderly, such as dementia,” says Silverio.
The organisation is also trialling subsidised emergency back-up care. The joint-funded service provides care for an older relative, for instance, someone who has recently left hospital.
Ultimately, Silverio and her team understand that good support mechanisms lead to happier and more productive employees. “Our aim is to let employees know that their employer cares about their lives outside of work, as well as enabling them to work with their minds at rest, knowing that their family and relatives are being cared for. This puts them in a good mindset to go to work with, enabling a productive workplace environment.”