Promoting carers' health and well-being in the workplace | March 2015

Our Members event on March 24th was an opportunity to discuss the promotion of carers’ health and well-being in the workplace as well as announcing the findings of our EfC/Carers UK Caring and Isolation in the Workplace survey.  

Michelle Mendelsson, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at hosts Credit Suisse, welcomed our members and guests and spoke briefly about their workplace support for carers.

They currently have two employee networks that include support for carers (Family and Wellness and Accessibility).  Michelle was delighted to announce that Credit Suisse will shortly have a separate Carers Network.

EfC Chair, Ian Peters, MD of British Gas, introduced our speaker Dame Carol Black DBE, Expert Adviser on Health and Work to the Department of Health and Public Health England.  Dame Carol spoke about how the world of work is changing and the benefits to business and employee well-being of having good organisational health.  

She spoke about the concept of ‘good work’ and wellbeing, as well as having an effective communication and awareness strategy, including peer support, and encouraging a healthy culture both in and out of the workplace. Dame Carol explained that the Public Health Responsibility Deal (PHRD) comprises of nine collective pledges that employers can sign up to – the first being a Pledge on Chronic Conditions and Carers.  Dame Carol’s slides can be viewed here
Following an opportunity for Q & A’s, Chair, Ian Peters provided an update on the work of Employers for Carers, including revised guides and resources, new EfC members since the last event and mapping of membership by sector and employee numbers.  Ian informed participants that to mark Carers UK’s 50th Anniversary year, EfC will be launching an EfC/Carers UK ‘’Nominate a workplace carers champion’ award in Carers Week.

Helena Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK, then launched the findings of the recent EfC/Carers UK research report on Caring and Isolation in the Workplace.  She spoke about why isolation matters, the resilience of carers and why it was important to go beyond the surface as isolation is often hidden.

Following lively and enlightening discussions, the Chair concluded that a few key themes had emerged, firstly the challenge of reaching hidden carers, secondly the importance of supporting carers through transitions such as when returning to work, and re-engaging and re-integrating into the workplace, and finally the issue of being a responsible employer including looking at how we value the skills and contributions of carers. 

The event closed following further lively and informal networking over wine and cheese kindly provided by our host.