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Corporate Moment Of Truth For Caregivers: Does My Boss Understand?

Caregivers, including working fathers, are increasingly stressed by the impacts of the pandemic.

new global research report from Boston Consulting Group on the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on parents and caregivers came to one definitive conclusion: While workers around the world may have more or less generous support systems, the stresses of the past year brought them to a boiling point. In short, those taking care of someone while working during Covid-19 are looking for employers to take care of them. 

The report surveyed more than 14,000 caregivers in seven countries, including the United States, and found that more than half of caregivers said their workload at home had increased, and conversely the energy they could apply to tasks at work had reduced. Perhaps more striking, an average of 1 in 5 mothers and nearly 1 in 6 fathers believed their managers didn’t understand how their responsibilities at home had changed during the pandemic. As a recent Quartz article pointed out, more dads are starting to understand what moms have long known about the pressures of balancing work and family care

The paper admonishes bosses and companies: “Don’t lose top talent because of the Covid-19 crisis.” Workers who are also caregivers “were significantly more worried about job security and their physical and mental well-being than were non-caregivers,” especially in the U.S. Those with young children suffered the most stress. While the conclusions may seem obvious, the report’s authors seek to underscore just how important it is for companies to take care of these employees, both as a matter of supporting employees in need and avoiding costly attrition.

The report offered a number of suggestions, especially as workplaces transition back to more traditional work arrangements in the coming month due to a vaccine-induced “return to the office” push. Managers should reallocate resources to provide support, do frequent pulse checks, and understand and respect that many workers may not want to return to more rigid pre-pandemic schedules. “This is a long moment of truth for both companies and employees,” the report notes.

In every country, in every caregiving situation, employers said they were much more likely to not be in their current job in six months if they had any caregiving responsibility. As Liz Burow, a workplace consultant, told Bisnow, the coming widespread return to work offers a perhaps once-in-a-generation chance to restructure work and remote work to be more supportive and inclusive for all employees, caregivers or not.