Labour Day used to symbolize an end of summer holidays, return to school for young people and back to work routine for most employers/employees. However this year due to Covid 19, things are alittle more fluid or perhaps I should say- unknown and unsettled. I thought I would take this opportunity to share some information from the www.ontariocaregiver.ca which addresses “Covid-19 Impact on Family Caregivers in the Workplace: Action Steps for Employers.”
Let’s recap: ‘There are 7.8 million caregivers in Canada; 35% of the workforce provides unpaid care to a family member or friend; there are now 22% more caregivers as a result of Covid and 54% of surveyed caregivers are worried about returning to work.‘
Survey says: ‘52% say balancing work and caregiving is more challenging during the pandemic; there is an increased risk of stress, burnout, anxiety and mental health concerns for working caregivers; many caregivers support those (elderly) who are at high risk if exposed to the virus and as well we all know, providing caregiver support results in an improved workforce, improved productivity and greater retention.’
Over my many blogs I have certainly highlighted concerns from employed carers and have provided guidance and direction to companies that want to better support their workforce.
These policies and practices include: ‘flexible work arrangements ( remote work, flex hours, reduced hours, job sharing, back up coverage, tools and technology); paid or unpaid leave, proactive planning for caregiving emergencies and providing Employee Assistance Programs and wellness programs- which is where we come in. The shift now is virtual and instead of running lunch and learn programs, we are now offering webinar sessions, from my home office to yours- during which time, you can eat your lunch, catch your breath and even learn a thing or too.
As we adjust to our new normal and for many this will continue to include working from home, so please remember that caregiving is a full time job and whether you are an employee or an employer supporting one another is important to everyone’s well being.