During Fall Prevention Week we consider the Impact of falls on Caregivers and Employers. One of the most staggering statistics for companies is the lost productivity by employees acting as caregivers. The losses range from lack of attention to current job tasks, more time away from work for appointments and caregiving to the increased levels of stress and health-related issues for the employees themselves. Informal caregiving burdens cost employers as much as $33 Billion annually in lost productivity according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.
American workers must make the most out of their situation when life happens while performing at an optimum level. That’s the corporate ideal, but on a personal level, the burden of caregiving can exceed a worker’s mental fortitude and earning potential. A new report from the Harvard Business School Project on Managing the Future of Work shows companies lose too when workers must decide when to care for a loved one or to keep on working.
“The Caring Company,” from co-authors Joseph B. Fuller and Manjari Raman, suggests companies are ignoring the “silent crisis of caregiving” as it pertains to today’s workers. A rapidly aging population, more women in the labor force and misalignment of benefits are contributing to pressures on work-life balance. For companies that espouse a culture of caring, many are unprepared to expand their conception of caregiving and benefits beyond family leave or more flexible work options.
In the authors’ estimation, companies do not calculate or understand the costs their workers incur when absent from the job or working when distracted or fatigued. High turnover and training costs are hidden from companies’ bottom lines while parents and elder caregivers are acutely aware of what they sacrifice in pay, time and mental strength. The rising cost of child and elder care is eating into earnings, leading workers — mainly women, who still shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities — to restrict their careers.
Workers’ expertise leaves with them when they suspend their careers, and many companies aren’t offering a pathway back to pick up where they left off. The result is a miscommunication between the two parties. According to the report, workers suffer in silence and do not utilize their benefits to ease their caregiving burden in fear of negative consequences while companies could look at this underutilization and say that there isn’t a problem. “The Caring Company” illustrates how companies operate in ignorance and pay lip service to caring, while not accommodating a widening spectrum of issues related to care.
The report comes at a time where dynamic population and healthcare trends are coinciding with a labor and skills shortage.
It doesn’t have to be this way! There are professionally trained Senior Home Safety Specialists™ who can provide the information and solutions to reduce the stress and worry about aging parents at home while an employee is attempting to put in a full day’s work. Age Safe® America has trained professionals throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East to provide the valuable resources for HR departments and EAP program administrators.
Our mutual goals are better, healthier, less stressed, more productive employees who have confidence that their family members have the right solutions in place for their home environments.