Who Cares Wins: The Social and Business Benefits of Supporting Working Carers

Who Cares Wins: The Social and Business Benefits of Supporting Working Carers

The University of Sheffield Hallam’s Social Inclusion Centre. Sue Yeandle, Cinnamon Bennett, Lisa Buckner, Lucy Shipton, Anu Suokas (Carers UK 2006)

Research shows that the adoption of flexible working practices can save businesses’ time and money – with some companies reporting savings of over £1 million (full report, executive summary and statistical report).

This study has explored how three very different employers have created a supportive environment at work for carers. In each organisation, we surveyed employees about their caring responsibilities, interviewed staff who were carers, reviewed documentary evidence, and spoke with managers in senior, strategic positions and line managerial roles. These case studies enabled us to assess what it is like to be employees, supervisors and managers in these organisations, and to gain insight into their organisational cultures and processes. The study also involved new statistical work on the 2001 Census, using specially commissioned data.

This confirmed how ubiquitous caring is – over 3 million people were combining work and care on Census day 2001. At some time in life, caring is a normal and everyday thing to do for most of us – both men and women, and people of all ethnicities and ages. Across the lifecourse, caring for others is likely to happen, at some point, to most of us.

Our research shows that employers can deliver effective support for carers, and that far from compromising their business objectives, providing the flexible approach which carers need brings impressive business gains.