Employers can boost productivity by as much as 20% by supporting adult carers in the workplace, according to research published today.
The research by Ace National (Action for Carers and Employment), led by campaign group Carers UK, shows that supporting carers significantly increases productivity and improves service delivery – one business found productivity up by more than 20%, the equivalent of £5m-£6m on the company’s bottom line.
The research, Who Cares Wins: The Social and Business Benefits of Supporting Working Carers, also shows that supporting carers attracts and retains skilled staff and reduces employee stress and sick leave – in one case stress related absence was reduced by 26%.
The report highlights that the adoption of flexible working practices can save businesses’ time and money – with some companies reporting savings of more than £1m.
Supporting carers need not be expensive, the research shows. For example, many companies found the cost of recruiting and training new members of staff greatly outweighed the cost of the two to three days of emergency leave required by carers.
The research was undertaken by the University of Sheffield Hallam’s Social Inclusion Centre, using case studies from the Employers for Carers group of businesses, which have come together to promote the business benefits of supporting carers at work.
There are six million carers in the UK, with more than half combining their caring role with paid employment.
Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “Employers can deliver effective support for carers, and far from compromising their business objectives, it can bring impressive business gains. It is critical business leaders recognise this.
“We know that small companies can often implement this better than their bigger counterparts, because they know their staff well and feel the effect quicker if a member of their team leaves.”
Caroline Waters, chair of Employers for Carers and director of people and policy at BT, said: “Every employer, large and small, public and private, can provide a supportive environment for carers. We know that many carers want to combine paid work with their caring role and accommodating their needs is not difficult, disruptive or expensive.
“Simple but effective measures, such as implementing paid emergency leave, can reduce staff turnover and cut employment costs, yet increase staff loyalty and productivity,” she said.