cg8American workers from every profession struggle to balance work and caregiving. But the work-caregiving balance affects more than families; the costs to employers, from absenteeism to health care, is in the billions. While quantifying the exact value added by a caregiver can be difficult, an employed caregiver is able to provide necessary elements—housing, insurance, food, and physical and emotional support. As a caregiver for almost 30 years, I want to share practical information that can help.




{1}  Be FORTHRIGHT with Employers.

Take a proactive stance with your super-visor to keep him or her in the “caregiving” loop without disclosing too much personal information. A qualified counselor (through an employee assistance program, for example) can help sort out what details your company needs to know. Disclosing too much personal information can be detrimental to your career. Honest communication goes a long way to securing your job and bridging the gap when a caregiving crisis occurs.

{2}  Ask for FLEXIBILITY.

The answer is always “no” until you ask. While it may feel uncomfortable, asking for a more flexible schedule or to work from home occasionally may result in a “yes.”

{3}  Give a FAIR Day’s Work.

Earning a reputation as an industrious and reliable worker will go far when a caregiver needs to ask for special assistance. Supervisors are more willing to rearrange schedules or assignments if they know they can count on you to deliver.

Use this numeric reminder to stay on the right path.


cg7Try to learn {1} NEW SKILL each year.

You don’t have to get a PhD or put an even greater burden on yourself by attending classes. A new skill can be learning a computer program or app. The objective is to become a more evaluable employee. The greater your value, the less likely you are to experience job loss. If you are caught in downsizing, your new skills and experience will help secure a new job and minimize the detrimental impact on your already challenging home “ecosystem.”

Arrange {2} ANNUAL PERFORMANCE MEETINGS with your supervisor.

Just as visiting a doctor helps prevent health issues, meeting with a supervisor can help identify potential employment issues and turn a boss into an ally. Regular communication is a proactive way to clear up misunderstandings and demonstrate initiative.

Take {30} MINUTES AWAY from your desk/phone daily.

Give yourself a break. It really does allow the necessary time to refocus and recharge. {PP}