Charles Benayon

Founder & CEO of Aspiria


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Who Cares for the Caregiver?

My wife and I are in our 50s with careers, are caregivers to our 3 children who live at home, are caregivers to our own parents who are in their 80s, and wait a minute, are caregivers to my grandmother who is 102 years old. True story. What gives? Most likely the health of the caregiver.

We’ve become a nation of caregivers. According to Statistics Canada, our aging population is fuelling caregiving needs across the country. By 2030, seniors are projected to account for 25% of our population. We now bear the responsibility of caring for the elderly, the sick and our children in addition to holding down fulltime jobs. Many caregivers are so overburdened that they have no choice but to put careers on hold. I thought I would share with you some knowledge we have around this issue, for you to consider:

  • More than 8 million Canadians provide informal care to a family member or friend.
  • More than 1 million caregivers are older than 65.
  • 44% of caregivers between the ages of 45-64 care for both a parent and children.
  • The number of seniors requiring care is set to double over the next 15 years.
  • 39% of caregivers look after the needs of their parents, 8% care for a spouse.
  • 35% of Canada’s workforce provides informal, unpaid work while working.
  • 6 million caregivers take time off work to provide care.
  • 10% of caregivers spend more than 30 hours per week providing care.
  • 80% of all care given to seniors in the community and 30% of services to seniors in institutions are provided by informal caregivers.
  • The economic value of caregivers is astounding: caregivers who look after seniors save Canada’s health care system between $24 to 31 billion annually.

*Data provided by CARP

It’s estimated that every year Canada loses the equivalent of nearly 558,000 fulltime employees from the workforce due to their inability to manage the conflicting demands of paid work and care (The Vanier Institute). These employee losses can cause tremendous disruption to the workplace and can negatively impact a business. Caring for a caregiver is not only an act of human kindness but it makes very sound business sense. It can enhance your organization’s image and reputation, facilitate recruitment and increase retention. Employee wellness and wellbeing increases productivity and job performance, boosts morale and inspires loyalty.

Trying to meet your employees’ responsibilities as caregivers and their obligations to the job is a Herculean task. Many caregivers lack the skills and resources to cope with the demands and as a result caregiving can take a toll on their mental and physical health. There are many ways that you can support your caregiver employees, such as providing:

  • EAP services
  • Flexible hours
  • Work-from-home options
  • Job sharing
  • Parental/compassionate leave

 

Flexibility is of paramount importance when trying to accommodate your caregiver employees. Each case will be different and should be evaluated on its own merit, so it is important to have the conversation with your staff to ensure they feel heard and considered. It takes effort, but it benefits both the employer and the employee.

Providing needed care for caregivers is an ongoing issue that is bubbling to the surface now. Do you have a plan in place for supporting employees who are caregivers?


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How to Get Employees Motivated After a Long Weekend

With the long weekend fast approaching, many managers worry that their employees will experience a “lull” in motivation, which may result in a drop in productivity. One of the great challenges with long weekends is not only are we coming back to a four-day work week, but “vacation mode” typically kicks in before the long weekend begins. By Wednesday afternoon you’ve probably noticed water cooler chatter about long weekend plans. And, you can expect an early, mass exodus on Friday afternoon. In anticipation of the lack of productivity and early departures many large companies let employees go at 2pm the Friday of a long weekend. The company appears to be providing a great perk, when in essence, they’re not losing anything. Once the long weekend is over, it’s time to get back to work and I have some great tips to get your employees motivated, revved up and back into “work mode”.

 

Ask your employees what they did

Instead of your employees walking around daydreaming about their weekend adventures, ask them what they did. Allow them some space to talk about and relive the events of the weekend so they can mentally move forward. Once they talk about it they can get it off their minds and get down to business.

Help them set tasks

Even your most dedicated employees may have some trouble getting back into work mode. Take some time in the morning to review any ongoing work and clearly define the steps required to move forward. Discuss anything new that’s come up and set goals for the week.

Invite your employees to a brainstorming session

Brainstorming sessions get the creative juices flowing again after a long weekend. And, employees feel that their ideas are heard and valued and that they’re an important part of the team. It’s a great way to motivate your employees.

Praise your employees

Positive reinforcement is a great motivator. Spread positivity around and you’ll see an increase in motivation and productivity. 

Lead by example

As a leader it’s important to set the example. Let your employees see that you’re refreshed, recharged and raring to go. They’ll feed off your energy and mirror your positive attitude.

Give your employees something to look forward to

Right after a long weekend is an opportune time to talk about great events to look forward to –company picnic, summer boat cruise, potluck lunch, softball or Frisbee league, volunteer day… this changes the focus from the past to the future.

 

Do you let your employees leave early before a long weekend? Have you noticed a lull in employee motivation after a long weekend in the past?


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Not All Midday Slumps Have to Lead to Chocolate

huge_36_181001-300x200We’ve all done it, and depending on when you read my blog, you might have already hit that time of the day, affectionately called the midday slump. You know that time of the day when we open our drawers looking for a chocolate snack, or that second large coffee, or visit the lunchroom seeking cookies to re-energize us for the balance of the day.

The problem is that instead of perking you up, these snacks often leave you feeling sluggish and unfocused. The exact opposite of what we had hoped!

In fact, a recent study from the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and the Center for Health Research shows that workers who ate healthy meals and exercised on a regular basis had better job performance and lower absenteeism. Their research further cites that employees who eat healthy all day long were 25% more likely to have higher job performance, while those who eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least 4 times a week were 20% more likely to be more productive.

Great research, but how does this impact our midday slump? If we invest a little time and energy into making changes to eat healthier at work, it will reap rewards of improved concentration and productivity.

Here are a few tips on how to help make healthier food choices at work:

  • Step away: Make an effort to step away from your desk for a few minutes a couple of times a day. It’s easy to get caught up in a task and eat at your desk, but productivity may suffer later in the day.
  • Don’t eat your lunch at your desk: Take a few minutes to decompress and refocus, enjoy your lunch, think about the fact that you are eating, and then our body is able to give us that cue of satiety. Doing this will help us maintain and achieve a healthier weight.
  • Lunches out with co-workers: Take a few minutes before you go to research the menu online and come up with a game plan of what to eat. Many menus now indicate calories or healthy choice options.
  • Drink plenty of water: One way to perk up mid-afternoon is to stay hydrated, but reach for water. A can of regular pop has the equivalent of 10 cubes of sugar.
  • Smoothies: They can be a great energy booster, but make your own with plain yogurt and frozen berries, because some purchased smoothies are equal to the same amount of sugar as 20 chocolate cream-filled cookies!

What do you do to eat healthy at work? Does your employer provide health management programs that included nutrition? If so, do you use this service? I look forward to hearing your feedback.