How to Support Employees Who are Also Carers

Understanding the Challenges Faced by Carers

Caring for a loved one can be a full-time job in itself, made more challenging alongside fulltime employment. Caregivers may need to work due to financial pressures, as well as for purpose, achievement and their own wellbeing. Employed caregivers have to juggle competing demands on their time and energy, making it difficult to maintain wellbeing. 

This balancing act can be further complicated by the fact that many caregivers feel guilt about dividing their attention between work and caregiving duties, making them question whether they are doing “good enough” in either role. This guilt can lead them to take on more responsibilities than they are able to manage and sacrifice their own wellbeing in the process. 

Employee Carer

Caring for someone with a disability or chronic illness can also come with additional costs for which carers may not be reimbursed. This includes transportation costs required for medical appointments, as well as adjustments to the home environment or special equipment that may need to be purchased. To make matters worse, some employed carers may struggle financially due to reduced working hours or lost wages when taking unpaid leave from work due to their caring commitments.   

If an employee must take long-term leave from work due to caregiving duties, there is a risk that they will lose out on career progression opportunities or fall behind on essential training. Caregivers can also find themselves facing discrimination in the workplace if they have had long periods away from work or cannot take up certain positions due to conflicts with their caring commitments.    

It is essential that employers do all they can to support such employees who are also caregivers, by understanding and accommodating their needs both within and outside of work environments.

How Being a Carer Might Impact Employees Ability to Work

Balancing the demands of caring for a loved one with the demands of paid work can be incredibly stressful. This can have a significant impact on a carers’ work, as well as their overall wellbeing.   

Caring for someone can be physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. Caregivers might find that they need more time off than usual due to appointments and other commitments related to their caring role. They may also feel more tired throughout the day due to lack of physical and emotional exhaustion or be distracted from their work by worries about their loved one or scheduling appointments.  On top of this, caregivers may experience high levels of stress and anxiety, and worrying that they are not performing to the best of their abilities professionally and for their loved one.    

The financial strain of being a caregiver can also impact an employees’ ability to work productively. Caregivers often incur additional costs when it comes to caring for another person, such as medical expenses or travel costs that might not be covered by insurance or government benefits. This means that caregivers might be living on significantly less income than other employees, leading to increased levels of financial insecurity which can take its toll on motivation and mental health.  

Ultimately, it’s important for employers to support carers however they can. This could include offering flexible working arrangements, such as letting them work from home if needed, allowing extra time off during busy periods or days where extra care is required, providing access to discounted employee assistance programmes (EAPs), or simply offering emotional support throughout the process. By taking these measures, employers can help ensure that employed caregivers can continue doing what they love while still managing their responsibilities at home – ultimately creating a happier and more productive workplace environment.  

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The Impact of Being a Full-Time Carer on Mental Health

Carers in the UK provide invaluable support to loved ones, often at the expense of their own wellbeing. Here are some of the ways that care work can affect a person’s mental health:   

  1. Stress: Balancing a job with providing care for another person can be incredibly stressful. Carers may find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of tasks they need to manage, which can lead to anxiety and depression.  
  2. Isolation: When someone is spending large amounts of time caring for another person, they may find themselves withdrawing from hobbies and enjoyable activities due to lack of time or energy for socialising. This can lead to loneliness which further impacts mental health.  
  3. Guilt: Many carers experience guilt and can feel like their role as a caregiver means that they are neglecting other areas of their life, such as their family or career. Guilt can also stem from not feeling able to meet all the demands placed on them as caregivers, which can add to feelings of stress and anxiety.  
  4. Financial Pressures: Care work is often unpaid, meaning that many caregivers struggle with financial pressures as well as emotional ones. This additional stress can lead to further mental health issues if not supported.  
  5. Health Issues: Caregiving often requires physical exertion such as lifting and transferring people or cleaning up after them, meaning that carers are prone to developing physical problems such as musculoskeletal disorders or fatigue which can take their toll on mental wellbeing over time if not managed carefully.

By understanding how being a full-time carer affects an employee’s mental health, you’ll be better equipped to provide meaningful support for those who need it most – something that will benefit both your organisation and its staff in equal measure!  

Emotional Fatigue as a Carer

Caring for a loved one can be an incredibly rewarding task, but also very demanding. For employed caregivers, the combination of work and caring can be especially difficult to manage, leaving them feeling emotionally drained and exhausted. This is known as emotional fatigue, and can have a significant impact on both the carer’s physical and mental health.   

Emotional fatigue is caused by overwhelming feelings of stress, exhaustion and sadness which can be brought on by long-term caregiving responsibilities. Carers often find themselves feeling anxious about their ability to provide 24-hour care to their loved ones while managing their work and trying to maintain a personal life. The feeling of being constantly overwhelmed or stretched too thin can lead to feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, sadness and frustration. These emotions can build up over time if left unmanaged, causing emotional fatigue or burnout in the caregiver.   

Employers should consider providing additional support for these employees such as offering flexible working arrangements or reducing workloads when possible. Offering psychological support services for employees who are caregivers could also help them cope with the emotional pressures associated with caring for someone else while maintaining a job at the same time.   

Making self-care a priority by engaging in activities which make you feel relaxed or uplifted is essential for managing your stress levels. Taking proper breaks during work hours – even if it’s just five minutes – can also help relieve some of the stresses associated with working full-time while providing care at home.

Flexible Working for Carers

Here are some of the ways in which employers can make it easier for carers to manage their work-life balance:   

  1. Flexible Working Hours: Allowing carers to have flexible working hours can help them to better accommodate their duties as a caregiver, while still meeting the demands of their job. This could be through allowing them to start later or finish earlier on certain days, or being able to break up shifts throughout the day. Making sure that they feel comfortable discussing these arrangements with their employer is key.
  2. Remote Working: Providing employees with the option of remote access to necessary work systems can allow carers to work from home if needed, without having to take leave or disrupt their workflow
  3. Paid Leave: Having paid time off can provide employees who are also caregivers with more space and freedom when it comes to looking after someone close who requires additional help, whether from home or elsewhere. Employers should be considerate when offering this kind of flexibility so that individuals don’t feel pressured into overworking themselves to meet deadlines or targets set out by the business.  
  4. Compassionate Leave: The death of a loved one can take a significant toll on caregivers’ mental health and wellbeing. Employers should make sure they provide compassionate leave for those affected by bereavement. This could also be offered to help carers manage emotional distress associated with their role as a carer.  
  5. Wellbeing Time: Employers should offer regular wellbeing supervision to monitor support required by the employee and ensure that as a business they are doing everything they can. Offering employed carers additional breaks for wellbeing during the working day to tend to self-care may also reduce the risk of absenteeism due burnout or overwhelm and make work a place of respite.  

Reasonable Adjustments for Carers

Providing reasonable adjustments in the workplace for employees who are also caregivers is a great way to ensure that they feel supported and that their unique needs are being met. Caregiver employment can be challenging, both physically and emotionally, so it’s important to make sure that your workplace is equipped to provide adequate support for such individuals.   

Reasonable adjustments can include offering flexible working hours, reduced workloads or job sharing, providing access to a mentor or supervisor who can offer advice and guidance, and allowing carers time off work to tend to any responsibilities related to their role as a caregiver. It may be necessary for employers to provide additional training and resources so that caregivers have the knowledge they need to manage their roles effectively.   

It’s important for employers to remember that everyone’s situation is unique – what works well for one caregiver won’t necessarily be suitable for another – so it’s important to tailor any reasonable adjustments made according to individual needs. This could include providing additional leave allowances, access to counselling services or mental health support programmes, as well as making adjustments to physical work spaces in order to minimise stress and tension.   

Communication between employer and employee is essential when making reasonable adjustments; open dialogue will ensure that all parties are clear on what changes are being made and how they will be implemented.  

Creating a workplace environment which meets the needs of employed caregivers is a great way of showing commitment towards mental health initiatives, while also helping employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Doing so demonstrates an understanding of their circumstances as well provides them with the confidence they need in order navigate their roles with ease.  

Implementing Wellbeing Plans for Carers

As the number of employed carers in the UK continues to grow, businesses need to ensure they are taking steps to implement wellbeing plans for their staff who are also carers. Caregiving can be an incredibly stressful and demanding job, so providing adequate mental health support is essential not only for the wellbeing of employees but also for the overall business performance.   

When implementing a wellbeing plan for carers, it’s important to understand their unique needs and challenges. Businesses should encourage communication between employers and carers by prioritising creating trusting relationships, so that employees can discuss their needs without judgement. This could involve having dedicated meetings on a regular basis about wellbeing, or simply allowing employees the opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns with their line manager whenever necessary.   

Another important factor when considering wellbeing plans for carers is ensuring that they are aware of the available resources which could provide them with support such as family friendly policies, employee assistance programmes or financial advice from organisations such as The Carer’s Trust or Carer Support UK. It’s also important that employers take into consideration practical considerations such as leave entitlements relating to caring responsibilities, especially if employees need time off during peak periods of demand or urgent situations arise.   

Finally, businesses should consider introducing initiatives which actively promote emotional wellness amongst its staff who are also carers such as mindfulness activities or stress management sessions which can help employees recognise stressful situations and develop coping strategies accordingly. By taking these steps, businesses will be able to create a supportive environment where carers feel valued and appreciated – something which is invaluable for employee engagement and morale within any organisation.

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