In addition to rising populations, so too is the average life expectancy. The official list can be found here, with Japan, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia and Spain rounding out the top five at an average of 83 years old. While this is positive data, many employers underestimate the struggle that employees face balancing their personal, professional, and caregiving roles. Although people are living longer, health issues persist among the elderly and the burden falls on employees, who are going to work each and every day, to help.
In 2015, the AARP reported that 43 million adult Americans had administered unpaid care to an adult who needed support or to a child with special needs. Furthermore:
- 60 percent of family caregivers held a job while providing unpaid caregiving support,
- 32 percent left a job due to the difficulty of juggling their professional life with their caregiving life,
- 80 percent stated that caregiving duties prevented them from optimal workplace performance, and
- 28 percent said that caregiving had hurt their careers.
If companies want to stand out from their competition and keep employees engaged, they need to address this burgeoning issue. According to Julian Hayes II, an author who helps leaders be more productive by mastering their energy, here are three steps to start addressing this issue:
WHAT CAN I DO?
1. Assess your current workplace. Collect data on your employee’s caregiving responsibilities, so you know the numbers.
2. Offer subsidies and more paid time off. Increase the amount of paid time off for caregivers and also communicate this benefit more clearly through various company channels.
3. Offer targeted education and training. Caregiving is stressful and can take a toll on the person administering help. Providing access to stress experts and other individuals who can help employees navigate this difficult terrain would be a valuable benefit.
Times have changed. Great employers keep their finger on the pulse of these changes and respond in real-time. Why? Because they understand that employees are their greatest asset and they want to keep them satisfied, productive and engaged.