How We Created A Carer Friendly Workplace
Caring for each other makes us human. Those who fill the roles of carer keep families and communities together. In addition, unpaid carers save the economy almost £60billion each year as per BBC. While caring for a loved one or someone from your community can be mentally and emotionally rewarding, it can also be overwhelming. Carers might feel alone if they are not supported in their daily lives.
One in ten people in the UK have carer commitments and responsibilities. Chances are high that the data is almost similar at your workplace. This does not include individuals who are employed as professional carer or whose caring role relates solely to an individual.
Carers need an extra pair of hands too. They need someone who understands them. And therefore, at the workplace where an individual spends 1/3 of the day, carers need emotional and practical support to stay happy and healthy as well.
We are all juggling a complex personal lifestyle with increasingly demanding working lives. Imagine if someone is a carer and has a different job as well? Managing caregiving commitments and work can be daunting.
Supporting your employees with mental wellbeing care is a step forward in supporting caregivers and ensuring that their mental wellbeing is cared for while offering loving care to others.
As a business, creating a carer friendly workplace was not just the right thing to (morally), but it also gave us a legal and personality edge too.
**Note: If you want to read more about the legal perspective, kindly refer to The Equality Act 2010, which safeguards a person against discriminations because of association with a family member who has a disability.
So coming back to the point, here’s how we created a carer friendly workplace:
Flexible Working Hours
Let’s talk about flexible working hours. Flexible working makes it possible for employees to continue working while they support and care for their family or loved ones who have caring needs.
Flexible working hours is a prerequisite for creating a carer friendly workplace. We also part-time and freelancing job opportunities so that carers can pursue their career and it will further build their confidence that they can carry both responsibilities properly.
Mental Health Days
We decided to offer mental health days in addition to our employee annual leave policy because there are days when a person needs to get off the grid, relax and rejuvenate. We want to support the mental health of our employees, and there is no second thought there. While we extended mental health days for carers in mind, anyone at our workplace can take mental health days off.
Sick Leave Without A Cap
No one can decide when to fall sick and when to get better, it’s just out of our control. At Healingclouds, we try to encourage our employees to not ignore their health- physical or mental both.
Paid leaves ensure that our employees take preventive medical care which is a win-win for both employers and employees both! Although we are a remote company, and it doesn’t apply to us but if you have a physical office setup, sick leaves will guarantee overall less time off work.
For example, if an employee who has viral flu comes to the office, the flu will be passed on to other employees and thus creating a chain of sick employees who are not only risking their health but affecting other employees’ health and your business too. Paid sick leaves are likely to decrease presenteeism at your work!
Employees are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off work to deal with emergencies involving their dependents. Some employers prefer to call it compassionate leave.
Going by the book of the law, a dependent can be parents, spouse/ civil partner, siblings and children. Other relatives, friends or unrelated children who live in your home as a family are also considered your dependents. This includes a grandparent or other relative who lives in the family home and also includes unmarried/same-sex partners.
It does not apply to someone in a commercial relationship with you, such as a lodger or tenant.
To create a compassionate workspace we began to train our employees with sessions led by globally accredited therapists. Coworkers should be educated and made aware of what it feels like to be a working carer. Employees should be trained on what they can do to understand and support their colleagues with caring responsibilities.
These were the initiatives that we took and tried to make a carer-friendly workplace. There is not any one-fit guide to providing such a supportive environment. There is always room for growth and improvement, and we will keep learning and growing. We hope this article acts as a practical guide to help employers create a carer-friendly workplace, including therapist-led online courses and other resources.