By Estelle Morrison, Ceridian LifeWorks Vice President of Clinical and Wellness Services
It’s well understood in human capital management that looking out for corporate health and wellness is a key strategy for ensuring a successful business. If you have employees who are healthy, they are far more likely to be engaged and productive each day.
Unfortunately, even if your employees themselves are healthy, sometimes their loved ones are not. This is why there are millions of Americans today handling dual roles as employees and caregivers. More than ever before, Americans are feeling forced to juggle both their responsibilities at work and their obligation to take care of their family members, both young and old.
In Ceridian’s recent research about caregiving, who’s doing it, how they balance it with work and how this challenge affects their daily lives. We recently unveiled the results of our study in a new report, titled “Double Duty: The Caregiving Crisis In The Workplace.” Our survey of over 1,600 caregiving workers shows the pressing need for employers to recognize, support and accommodate these members of the workforce.
Caregiving can be an extremely taxing challenge on a daily and long term basis. Here’s how your employees are affected by caregiving:
Emotional trouble dealing with caregiving is unfortunately quite common. Caregivers in our survey reported feeling stress, fatigue and/or sadness as a result of their caregiving responsibilities more than 55 percent of the time.
Even when caregivers aren’t busy providing assistance with health and wellness, the stress bleeds over into their free time. In the 2015 survey, 52 percent of respondents reported feeling anxiety, and 45 percent reported experiencing sleep problems.
No free time
Caregiving can significantly detract from the free time necessary to lead a balanced life – 56 percent of caregivers reported lack of time for relaxation and self-care, and 54 percent had lack of time for activities, social outings and hobbies. Additionally, 44 percent have had strain on their personal relationships as a result.
Trouble at work
Caregiving stress tends to affect the performance of the employee at work. That is to say: 39 percent have had trouble getting work done on time, 34 percent have struggled to focus at work and 27 percent report absenteeism from work. The interruptions, the phone calls, the medical appointments and the general sense of worry all make it difficult to focus on professional responsibilities.
On the positive side, caregivers are passionate about providing the best possible care for their loved ones, which is why they choose to do it themselves. Ceridian found that 92 percent of American caregivers believe their recipients are getting the best possible care.
There’s nothing quite like the pride you get from a job well done. Fortunately, 90 percent of caregivers report feeling a sense of personal satisfaction with their work. Even if it’s stressful as well as emotionally and physically draining, caring for a loved one is a rewarding endeavor.
Caregiving can have a dramatic impact on productivity, engagement and absenteeism with two-thirds of caregivers having reported absences during the workday due to caregiving issues. As an employer, it’s your job to help your caregiving employees manage their extra duties. In my next post, I will be looking at how employers can create a workplace culture that supports caregivers.
Estelle Morrison, Ceridian LifeWorks Vice President of Clinical and Wellness Services, has more than 25 years of experience managing EAP services. Her focus is on delivering effective, innovative health and wellness solutions with an emphasis on enhanced productivity, prevention of illness and optimal health for Ceridian’s EAP business.