Employee well-being has a direct impact on organizations and their revenue.
A major component of well-being is our ability to manage stress in our daily lives. While a little stress is certainly manageable and sometimes unavoidable, too much stress can be incredibly disruptive in the workplace and at home.
In fact, an aggregated report from Health Advocate found that stress costs about $300 billion each year in lost productivity. The impact of stress in the workplace is especially significant for employees who are family caregivers – 49 percent of family caregivers experience clinical exhaustion.
The good news is that employers can support family caregivers by helping them achieve work-life balance.
What Is Work-Life Balance and Why Is It Important?
The concept of work-life balance has been top of mind for several years now. It refers to one’s ability to manage their work-related responsibilities and those of their personal life.
Finding this balance is becoming more important to employers and employees alike. Gartner’s recent study found that work-life balance is now the second biggest driver of attraction for employees in the U.S., with compensation taking the number one spot.
From an employer perspective, providing employees with a healthy balance doesn't just help with attracting talent. It even improves company culture. When employees can achieve a healthy balance, they’re more productive and engaged in their day-to-day activities. A healthy, engaged staff leads to a better workplace culture.
This concept is especially important for family caregivers. Not only are they juggling their work tasks, but they’re also focusing on coordinating eldercare for their loved ones. While both of these worlds are incredibly rewarding in their own ways, the combination can be very demanding.
This is why 20 percent of employees lose 10 or more working hours per week to caregiving. Additionally, seven in 10 employees hide their caregiving responsibilities from their employers, which can complicate the employee-employer relationship.
Caregivers need to feel comfortable talking about their lives with employers, which is why leadership should be proactively supporting their staff and helping them find a way to balance both of these worlds.
Steps You Can Take to Achieve Work-Life Balance
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can support your staff who are taking care of their aging loved ones and teach them how to balance work and life.
Solicit Employee Feedback
You’re not a mind reader, and you don’t have to be. Encourage your employees to speak up about what they need when they feel like they have no work-life balance. Conduct surveys where employees can anonymously submit feedback and share their perspective on various aspects of work and home life.
There are plenty of employee survey software tools you can use, including Hppy, TINYpulse, and Culture Amp, that can help you gain insights on what specific areas your caregivers are struggling with the most.
Start an Employee Wellness Program
Creating and launching a formalized program with the goal of improving employee wellness is a great way to demonstrate your company’s commitment to your staff and to actually make measurable progress. Use employee surveys to get ideas of what your staff wants help with, and conduct check-ins regularly to measure their levels of satisfaction and stress.
There are plenty of elements you can include in your program, such as:
- Free healthy snacks in the common area
- Fitness rooms on site
- Corporate health discounts for local gyms
- A digital library of wellness resources
- Wellness challenges
- An annual health fair with local vendors and practitioners
- On-site wellness services (e.g., massages, meditation classes, yoga classes)
These ideas influence their ability to balance work life and home life. For example, by giving them access to fitness options on site, you’re providing a dedicated space for caregivers to practice proper self-care and get in some time to exercise.
Host a Caregiver Seminar
Educate your employees who are caregivers by hiring professionals in the caregiving field to give a presentation on a specific topic, like helping parents with dementia, practicing social distancing with seniors, or improving home safety for aging family members.
During the seminar, plan for some Q&A time so caregivers get direct access to experts. They can ask specific questions about their personal experiences and get helpful tips and guidance on mitigating day-to-day stresses.
Add Benefit Options Geared Toward Caregivers
There are many new employee benefits you can offer to better support the caregivers on your team. The most notable benefits include:
- Flextime – Depending on how your daily operations go, you can offer employees flexible work arrangements. For example, allow a “come and go” workday, so caregivers can still perform their caregiving duties while completing their daily tasks. Instead of focusing on how much time employees spend in the office, focus on productivity and output. When they’re not worried about being in attendance at strict times, they can better focus on caring for their loved ones and getting their work done at a pace that fits their lifestyle.
- Work-from-home options – As the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adopt telecommuting, this option is more popular than ever before. With the right technologies on hand, you can equip your employees to do all their work tasks from a workstation in their homes. This is especially helpful for employees who live with elderly parents who need more attention around the clock for daily activities, like eating, taking medications, and grooming.
- Flexible spending arrangements – Start an employer-sponsored option that allows employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to a dedicated account, which they can use for reimbursement of health and dependent care expenses. You can even provide an employer match to further bolster the contributions to their account, which can greatly relieve the financial burden of being a caregiver.
One of the most impactful benefits you can provide is access to supportive services, which is where Homethrive comes in.
How Homethrive Can Help Employers and Caregivers in Achieving Work-Life Balance
Exhausted, melancholy, and absent. These are not the descriptions you want of your employees, both for their sake and for your business. However, if these adjectives describe some of your employees, they may be developing caregiver burnout . If they’re not showing signs now, that could quickly change as caregiver burnout intensifies.
Homethrive is an option that allows employers to be proactive in preventing burnout for caregivers. Employers can offer Homethrive as either a partially subsidized benefit, a voluntary benefit, or a covered benefit. Regardless of how it’s offered, employers need to know how to best promote this benefit to caregivers to encourage usage.
One of the best ways to get employees to use this benefit is by showing them how simple it is to get started and explain how much time it can save them for their caregiving duties. The Homethrive program is simple and consists of a few basic steps:
- The employee is assigned a Care Guide and has a one-to-one call to discuss their unique needs.
- The Care Guide develops a plan that aligns with clear goals for both the employee and their aging loved one.
- Throughout the service, caregivers have direct access to Care Guides via text or phone call to get answers to wellness concerns instantly. The Care Guide’s plan addresses all kinds of caregiving obstacles, like finding specialists for grocery, meal, or medication delivery, scheduling transportation services, coordinating home care visits, and more.
When caregivers have access to expert coaching from certified social workers and personal assistance services, the work-life balance they need comes easier. Employees will have more time to take care of themselves, stay productive at work, and, most importantly, spend quality time with their aging loved ones outside of the day-to-day stressors of coordinating eldercare services.