Carers Week 2023
Published: 5 Jun 2023
Caring for loved ones can be a challenging role which deserves recognition and support in the workplace. Fortunately, there are many employers out there pouring time and effort into creating environments where carers can be open about their needs. Carers Week is a great opportunity to shout about some of our previous Best Practice winners who are doing just that.
A Carer’s Passport
Consider using carers’ passports, just like many of our Best Practice winners including the Civil Service, Nationwide and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT). They are a great way to make life easier for carers by recording information about caring responsibilities and agreed working arrangements. It travels with employees when they change roles and so facilitates discussion with new managers around specific needs.
It can be hard for carers to be open about their needs. To tackle this, follow the lead of Nationwide who recognises this challenge and so have empowered employees to self-identify as carers by adding information to their HR personnel record.
Think about using the power of storytelling to help people recognise themselves as carers and reduce any stigma. The University of Swansea use Carers Week as an opportunity to produce videos of the carers’ experiences to raise awareness and promote the support available. Similarly, Phoenix Group have found it beneficial to communicate stories on the ground through talks, lunchtime stalls, news stories and blogs.
Follow the example of the NELFT and encourage line managers to have regular dialogue with staff about work-life balance. This helps identify employees who have caring responsibilities and may benefit from support, as well as sending a signal that they can bring their whole selves to work.
A network of support
Many of our Best Practice winners have a carers network in place that foster a sense of belonging and are an invaluable source of support. For example, you could consider using real life stories and personal journeys to illustrate the benefits of the network and encourage employees to join, like Santander have done.
A space to talk
Why not use a carers network to facilitate discussion, similarly to Santander’s regular Tea and Talk sessions, which provides a safe space in which carers can benefit from peer support. Likewise, NELFT run monthly forums for staff to reflect on the challenges and rewards of providing care and connect with others.
Sometimes carers can benefit from a one-to-one source of support. Think about implementing a buddy system, like that in operation at Nationwide, which can offer a listening ear as well as signposting where needed.
It’s long been known that singing is good for the soul. Follow the example of Swansea University and set up a choir for carers. Not only does it help connect carers and create a community, but it’s scientifically proven to boost endorphins and oxytocin which can help lower stress and anxiety.
If you’d like to benefit from our expert tools and guidance to help you create a highly productive workplace that also supports the needs of carers, email our team about becoming a Working Families member.