What Businesses can do to Help Employees and Themselves
According to a recent MetLife Study, nearly 16 million full-time U.S. workers are the primary family caregiver for a loved one or friend struggling with their health. In addition to taking time off of work, employees are spending millions of working hours on the phone and online assisting a loved one. Countless other hours are spent by employees distressed or worried - unable to focus on their job.
"The time lost, per employee, can be substantial," says Bob Tucker, a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP), with more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare field and co-owner of Senior Helpers Chicagoland North/Northwest office. "Many family caregivers are helping with everything from grocery shopping, to doctor’s visits, trips to the pharmacy, housekeeping, laundry, home repairs, transportation, insurance paperwork, meal preparation, personal care assistance and more. It may take 20 or more hours each week to care for a loved one."
The MetLife Study showed that 168,255 employees have left the workforce because of the weight of their caregiving responsibilities. The replacement cost for these workers is $2.8 billion. Some workers go from full-time to part-time, which is also costly for businesses forced to hire and train new part-time workers.
"The cost to business of lost time due to absenteeism is estimated to be more than $5 billion," adds Abbie Tucker, senior advocate and client services director, certified senior advisor (CSA) and a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of Senior Helpers. "In addition, late arrivals and early dismissals, related to elder care responsibilities, costs businesses an additional $1.9 billion annually. The study estimates that workday interruptions are conservatively estimated to cost another $6.3 billion."
Bob Tucker also points out that according to the study: "Crisis care, which can take an employee away for days to arrange services, move a loved one, deal with a hospitalization or rehabilitation facility stay costs American businesses another $3.8 billion annually." When employees take Family & Medical Leave, employers may replace the employee with temp workers or personnel reassigned from other duties, accounting for another cost to business totaling $3.4 billion.
What can employers do to protect their businesses and help employees get through life transitions?
Bob and Abbie Tucker have the following recommendations:
Offer flextime, telecommuting, part-time and job-sharing options when possible
Train leadership personnel to be sensitive to, and on the lookout for struggling employees
Promote wellness to all employees and their families
Create a positive, pleasant work environment to reduce stress
Develop an ongoing education program to acquaint employees with the options and help available
Create contingency plans should key employees find themselves immersed in caregiving
Establish resources for speedy temp and permanent placements when the need arises
"Total control of these situations is an impossibility. However," adds Bob Tucker," managing the impact of this giant wave heading in your direction can be of tremendous value to your company’s bottom line-and your, and your employee’s peace of mind."
If you would like to learn more about how to help your employees or yourself manage stressful health issues, Senior Helpers can arrange a personal employee consultation, management consultation or a presentation to your staff.
For more information about Senior Helpers, which provides highly trained caregivers and personal assistants to help seniors live more safely and with a higher quality of life, call Bob Tucker at (847) 564-7500 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org