With an estimated 1 in 5 working adults currently in family caregiving roles, chances are you have a caregiver on your team. Even with the right benefits in place, supporting team members who are juggling work and family responsibilities can be challenging. It’s important to be empathetic, communicative, and flexible to empower caregiving employees to succeed in their roles.
Here are 5 tips for how managers can help create a supportive work environment for family caregivers.
Communicate openly and be vulnerable
Trust and communication are key for employees to feel comfortable opening up about their situation at home and voicing their needs. Ask employees how they’re really doing, get to know them on a personal level, and be open about your own struggles. This will build trust and help team members feel like they can show up at work as their authentic selves.
Build flexibility into your team’s environment
Set reasonable expectations around meetings — which are necessary and who truly needs to be there? Make it a practice to record meetings in case someone has to miss. Ask employees to help determine deadlines, rather than assigning arbitrary due dates. Champion and model any company-wide flexible work policies to show your team it’s okay for them to take advantage too.
Look for ways to prevent burnout
Managers play an important role in helping to prevent burnout before it’s too late. One way to get in front of burnout is to communicate priorities clearly — when employees know what work they should prioritize it’s easier for them to say no to less important things. Once you’ve established priorities, trust people to get their work done.
Understand the ‘why’ to address burnout
If members of your team are experiencing burnout, it’s important to understand what’s driving it so that you can help. There are three types of burnout. Exhaustion: struggling with the basics of self-care. Cynicism: feeling fed up and a sense that tasks or projects are pointless. Inefficacy: lack of self-esteem and a sense that nothing one does is right.
Tune into company benefit offerings
When you learn about an employee who may be struggling, you’ll know what benefits and resources to connect them with.