Statistically speaking, nearly one-quarter of your employees who care for a child, parent or friend are actually Sandwich Generation caregivers, meaning they’re caring for children and aging loved ones simultaneously. Their numbers are expected to grow substantially as the population ages and seniors live longer.
This surge in Sandwich Generation employees could cost you dearly in several crucial ways. The good news is … It doesn’t have to.
The Heavy Toll of Caregiving
The organizational and personal costs of caregiving are substantial and well documented. (Many are outlined here.)
As for sandwiched caregivers in particular, a whopping 83% of them report they’re struggling to balance caregiving, work and other responsibilities. These employees are far more likely to miss work and be less productive due to the constant pressures of caregiving. They also tend to be more stressed and spend less time caring for themselves, which results in their own costly health issues. Additionally, a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business School revealed that 32% of U.S. employees voluntarily left a job due to caregiving responsibilities.
Rather than waiting for those statistics to worsen, savvy employers are implementing a variety of programs to support their caregiving employees.
3 Foundational Pillars of Sandwich Generation Support
Two of the most written-about benefits that support family caregivers are flexible work arrangements and paid time off. However, these solutions require significant up-front analysis and a substantial investment. Whether or not you choose to implement them, your strategy for supporting caregivers should rest upon these three indispensable pillars:
- Support for Working Parents —Nearly half of all working parents miss an average of four days of work at least once every six months. You can reduce this absenteeism (and other negative impacts such as diminished performance and productivity levels). Implement a comprehensive support program to help parents navigate and source solutions ranging from infancy through transitioning to college. It will give employees 24/7 telephonic and online access to bachelor- and master-level child care specialists, confirmed referrals to trustworthy providers, and a wealth of interactive educational content, webinars and other tools.
- Support for Employees Providing Care to a Senior — Employees who serve as caregiver for elder parents or family members often are faced with complex, confusing and time consuming challenges. A high-quality senior care management program provides a spectrum of invaluable services including in-person assessments; detailed care recommendations; 24/7 telephonic and online access to experienced senior care specialists; and a host of educational resources to help your employees become better family caregivers.
- Solutions for Employees When Care Plans Are Disrupted —A great backup care program benefits your employees by giving them access to reliable care alternatives when their regular arrangements break down; it also helps your company slash absenteeism/presenteeism, productivity losses, stress and the poor health issues that frequently afflict family caregivers. A state-of-the-art backup care program offers some very specific advantages: it’s available to your employees around the clock; it gives employees access to live, highly trained care representatives, not just an online database of caregivers; it’s flexible, allowing employees to use (and pay) privately secured care including trusted family members and friends as backup caregivers; and it provides invaluable educational resources regarding the care of children, older loved ones, pets, and employees themselves.
Helping employees better manage their competing caregiving and work-related priorities is more than the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do.
If you’d like to learn more about caregiving-related benefits to support your sandwich generation employees or other programs designed to help your employees better integrate their work and personal responsibilities, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751.