Are you a caregiver trying to balance work and your role as a caregiver?
Caregivers are often inundated with various responsibilities and many family caregivers try to balance a career and caregiving. Family members do not necessarily care for their parents only, they may be taking care of their grandparents, parent-in-law, or maybe a distant relative that needs help. As a caregiver, you may have weighed the pros and cons of balancing a career you are passionate about. Is fear holding you back? Adapting your work situation can help you navigate career options and it can also help you grow outside your care giving responsibilities.
Here are a few ideas that can help:
Check company policies
Reading and checking your company’s policy or employee handbook can help open channels of communication with your employer. Your company may have special policies for caregivers who need to facilitate some time for those duties. Maybe they have flexible work options that you never thought of exploring before? Researching, asking, communicating can create entry points for those opportunities. Is there a family leave that you can make use of? Perhaps there is access to an employee assistance program which could be a valuable resource for caregivers or family caretakers.
Communicate with your employer
Many caregivers may be working full-time, but they do not disclose their caregiving responsibilities for a variety of personal reasons. Communicating with your employer or manager and telling them about your situation can help. Informing your manager can help them understand your situation. Employers do not want work expectations to be compromised and talking to your manager will help you both define goals and strategies. This enables you, as an employee, to accomplish company goals while managing your caregiving responsibilities.
Have a back up plan
There may be days when you will more work to do than usual. Prioritize items so you can complete the most important tasks first and leave secondary ones for later. Having a backup plan for unexpected situations can help you balance caregiving and career. Is there a colleague who can step in for a little while, so you complete a task that needs your attention? Again, communication and preparing a backup plan can help you navigate some of the situations at work.
Flexible work timings
Caregivers can also find out if their company offers flextime at work. And if they do not, would they consider it? Flextime allows a worker to work on a flexible work schedule based on legitimate reasons. Generally, there are some core times when a worker is expected to be in the office, for example, for certain projects or important meetings. Maybe you can work from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. instead of the usual 9 to 5? Employees can create a schedule around those hours, and they can use flex work times to facilitate caregiving responsibilities such as taking their senior loved one to the doctor or tests.
Creating a network of help
If you are already juggling work and caregiving, your family members, friends, and relatives will be familiar with your situation. Creating a network of help can help you when unexpected last-minute meetings are scheduled or if you need to tackle more work than usual. If adjusting the work schedule is not a viable option, seeking help from your network may help. Consider reaching out to family members, relatives, or maybe a neighbor who can assist you with checking in on your elderly loved in if you are at work. By having a network of trusted individuals, you can focus on work and ensure that your senior loved one’s needs are being met. As a caregiver, you can utilize online tools and applications to schedule and coordinate with family members who are willing to help.
Remote work options
With technological advancements that enable one to hold online meetings at a click of a button, telecommuting can allow you to complete your work from a location other than your office. You can stay at home while working on various projects, attend meetings, and coordinate with other colleagues. Using tools such as Zoom calls, emails, online shared documents, and telephone communications, workers can focus on tasks and complete projects on time.
Many companies offer the option of remote work and caregivers can utilize this option to advance their careers while taking care of loved ones. This setup allows caretakers to help the ones they care about and instead of commuting to work every day, they can use the same time to work on projects and assignments.
Are you a caregiver who is balancing a career and caring for a loved one? Would you like to share your experiences with us or maybe add some more tips? Please leave a comment and let us know!