Having the right work / life balance can be a challenge for all of us, but adding in caring for a family member or friend into the mix makes this balancing act even more difficult.

For many people that are in employment and also have caring responsibilities, having the right support at work can make a huge difference. This is why Carers Leeds works together with many of the big Leeds employers so that together we can open up this conversation and raise awareness.

Many employees are hesitant to let their employer know about their caring role. This could be because they feel it is a private matter or maybe that they think the employer will see them as unreliable. However if that conversation is opened and if the right support and flexibility is given then that can mean the difference between staying in work and having to leave. Companies are starting to recognise caring issues as a challenge that most employees will face at some stage in their life and are becoming more supportive. It is in the employer’s interest to support their employees, as it increases productivity and saves on costs connected to people being off sick and leaving work.

Caring can also benefit our work as we often gain valuable knowledge and skills that can enhance our work. A carer will learn about things like juggling responsibilities, time management, problem solving, assertiveness, dealing with stress, resilience, negotiation skills and so on through their caring role. All of these are transferable skills that will benefit both the employee and the employer once they are recognised and built on.

So let’s open up that conversation and find the right flexibility and support to make work and caring a success.

Madlen Sayar, Working Carers Support Worker