It all falls on you. When you’re juggling your own life, plus your kids and your aging parents, you are the go-to person for, well, everything. You have to make time for doctors’ appointments, prepare meals, and help parents with everything from managing their medications to helping them get dressed.
Add a full-time job to the mix, and you have a recipe for caregiver burnout.
43.5 million: Number of adult family caregivers caring for someone 50+ years of age
Source: Family Caregiver Alliance
More than 1 in 6 Americans who work a full- or part-time job also cares for an elderly or disabled loved one.
Caregivers with full-time jobs are more likely to have poorer physical health than non-caregivers.
Working remotely or having a flextime work schedule could alleviate some burdens. You’ll have greater chances to work around doctors appointments and other caretaking responsibilities, while still being productive in your job.
But this type of work arrangement isn’t for everyone.
Flextime work schedule: Instead of working 40 hours a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, you pick your own start, break, and end times.
Working Remotely: Instead of working at your company’s office, you work from home. This saves time on commuting, but you’re always accessible to your colleagues.
Sources: U.S. Department of Labor, Remote: Office Not Required by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried
Would a flextime work schedule or telecommuting make sense for you?
|Your Responsibilities||Job Requirements and Workplace Culture||Your Abilities and Preferences|
|Are you the primary caretaker of aging parents?||Can your work be done independently?
|Are you more productive when you work alone?
|Do you work a full-time job that requires long stretches of concentration?
|Does the culture of your work allow non-traditional work schedules?||Do you work well with little supervision or structure?
|Do you have a long commute to work?
|Are the resources you need to work available at home? i.e. computer, internet, faxing, phone conferencing||Are you a high performer with performance reviews to prove it?
|Do you struggle to balance work schedules and caretaking?
|Do your aging parents require frequent doctor visits or constant care at home?||Are you good at multitasking?|
|Do you primarily communicate by phone, email or instant message?||Are you able to stop working when it’s time to call it quits for the day?|
The more you answered yes, the better the chances are that a flexible or remote working arrangement could work for you. Talk with your boss.
3 Tips For The Conversation With Your Boss:
- Focus on company benefits, not just your needs.
The days you miss—whether it’s because you’re taking your elderly mom to the doctor or because you’re sick—costs your employer lost productivity. You wouldn’t use this statistic in your talk, but it’s worth knowing:
$25.5 billion is lost in productivity from full-time workers who miss days because of caretaking duties.
This means you need to explain how a flexible schedule or remote work option can help boost your productivity. Maybe you’ll be able to start earlier to make sure certain tasks are handled when your boss arrives. Or perhaps you’ll whip through your to-do list faster because you can work when and where you’re most productive.
- Put the arrangement in writing.
If your boss agrees to the arrangement, clarify all the details and put them in writing.
Points to include:
- Days and times you’ll be working or at least be accessible
- Dates and times when you’ll be inaccessible because of medical appointments for your aging parent
- Dates for any onsite team meetings
- How long the arrangement will last
- How you’ll be expected to stay in touch
- Support or resources you’ll need from your employer
- Try it out.
If committing to the new work schedule is difficult for your boss, ask for a trial period.
Try flextime work one to two days a week for a month. This will give you and your boss the chance to work out any kinks in the arrangement—and to make sure the flexible or remote working arrangement works for both sides.