A recent study has found that a fifth of Canadian are working and having to care for both their children and elderly relatives resulting in higher absenteeism levels, increased stress and burnout.
It’s nothing new that people have always juggled family care with work but due to shifting demographics, challenges are escalating as the population ages, workers having children later in life, more women in the workplace and the population living longer. Additionally the recession and alternations in the labour market leave many professionals stressed and exhausted.
According to the report, carers are more likely to be absent from work, use company benefits and turn down promotions. They are also inclined to experience a reduction in productivity and decline in hours dedicated to work.
“People say they’re short of sleep, grumpy, they take it out on customers and colleagues at work. And these are our knowledge workers...who are expected to come in and be creative,” said Linda Duxbury, professor at Carleton University and co-author of the paper with University of Western Ontario’s Christopher Higgins. “This group is going to increase dramatically in size and in importance to businesses.”
The study called “Balancing work, childcare and eldercare: A view from the trenches,” focuses on highly-educated managers and professionals and is based on a national survey of 25,021 employees during 2011 and 2012 in Canada.
Employers wanting to attract and retain workers may need to adjust their strategies in order to facility the changing role of their employees to include for example more flexible working hours and employee assistance programs.
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