People often see caring for someone as detracting from their everyday work. Particularly when it comes to caring for elderly and dependent parents. Some companies even consider caregivers’ activities to be a ‘distraction’. Many believe that these activities have a direct impact on employee productivity.
But the opposite is true. Caregivers develop skills and attitudes (from empathy and problem solving to leadership) through caregiving activities. People can also apply those skills at work. This impacts positively on their productivity.
The number of informal caregivers is on the rise in the UK. Currently, around one in ten people are caregivers, contributing £119 million to the economy every year. What’s more, according to recent government research, 64% of people caring for parents are also in work.
“We all have complex lives. But when we leverage our life experiences, we can boost our capabilities and acquire new transferable skills that are often in demand in businesses today”, explains Riccarda Zezza, Lifeed CEO, in an interview with the Italian newspaper Avvenire.
Caregivers develops skills that are useful at work
It’s time for companies to start considering caregiving as an opportunity, rather than a problem. Workers have the opportunity to maximize their caregiving experiences at work, “developing their resilience, listening, empathy and leadership skills as well as a greater awareness of their resources”.
UniCredit has seen this double advantage for their employees and company. As part of their welfare initiatives, they have chosen to implement Lifeed Caregivers. Monica Carta, Head of Welfare at UniCredit, told Avvenire that the journey “gave good results in terms of new energy and skills made available by working caregivers”.
Lifeed programs have also been useful for Enel employees, with over 530 people taking part. It’s created opportunities for people to “reconcile their identities and manage the complexity that caregivers face”, says Raffaella Poggi D’Angelo, People Care and Diversity Manager at Enel.