Fi 4 Working Carer

Working Carers: The Employees Who Live a Double Life

Many workers are leading a double life that employers may not even know about.

Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Fuller conducted research which found that 73% of all American employees have some type of caregiving responsibility alongside their ‘day job’. However, due to a lack of support, benefits, and policies, this has resulted in US businesses losing $35 billion annually from failing to attract, support, and retain these working carers.  

And the data for the UK paints a similar picture; a report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that 72% of carers in the UK are providing care in addition to full-time paid work. And 28% of these full-time workers are supplying at least 30 hours of care a week – that’s 700,000 people working over 75 hours a week!

These double lives are causing these working carers to experience difficulty concentrating at work, as well as 36% of them refusing job offers and promotions – or just not applying for a job in the first place – because of their caring responsibilities.

It is clear from this that if employers know how to better support those employees who are doubling as carers, they can help increase attraction, retention, and overall engagement. So, what can companies be doing to optimize these team members?

  • Encourage employees to identify themselves as carers – this starts from a cultural perspective. Ensuring that, as leaders, you are building a culture of honesty and openness that invites your staff to confide and seek support. As well as this, formally acknowledge that as an employer you are aware of this and actively want to help, so that employees can come to you privately to discuss what assistance they may need.
  • Be flexible – with some workers essentially working a second full-time job with their caring duties, it is important to be as flexible and understanding to their time as possible. Scheduling meetings around potential appointments and offering ‘carers leave’ are great examples of how you can optimize your working carers and ensure that the time they can put in will be 100% focused. This will lead to higher engagement and stronger output overall.
  • Training line-managers – having line-managers undergo a training course/workshop to be able to gain a deeper understanding of how they can recognise and support working carers on their teams. If employees know that their managers are well-versed in this area, they will feel much more inclined to confide in them and seek assistance.
  • Mental health support – being a full-time worker and a part- or full-time carer can take its toll on anyone. As caring can sometimes be a sensitive topic, it’s not surprising that it may have an effect on the caregiver’s mental wellbeing. Making sure these employees know what mental health support is available to them, either in-house or externally, is a great way of demonstrating support.  

By striving to create policies and offer benefits that can help ease the weight of being a working carer, employers are able to get the best out of their employees while also helping to eradicate the taboo around caregiving.

To discuss the workshops, training, and policy crafting services that we can offer you, please get in touch with me at

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