While caregiving for loved ones has been stressful during the pandemic, many of those who also hold down jobs have appreciated accommodations made by their employers — and they hope that flexibility continues.
AARP surveyed Americans who provide unpaid care to a family member or friend and work part- or full-time to learn about their concerns coming out of the pandemic. Of the national sample of adults polled by phone, 56% say their employer offered new benefits as a result of the pandemic, such as flexible schedules and the ability to work remotely.
As of July, about half of caregivers (52%) were continuing to work from home at least some of the time and 89% would like that option going forward. Most said it's been easier to juggle the demands of work and caregiving while not having to commute (49% to a great degree and 40% to some degree), according to the AARP survey.
The postpandemic transition back to the workplace may be rocky. Three out of four respondents are worried about managing their responsibilities once they return.
The perks put in place by employers as a result of COVID-19 are so valued that 43% of respondents said they would consider looking for a new job if any of the new benefits were taken away; another 22% are unsure.
AARP discovered that 42% of adult working caregivers believe having flexible or alternate work schedules is very important; 36% say telework is very important, and 29% felt compressed schedules are very important. Not as popular: job sharing and reduced work hours where their wages may also be reduced.
Looking to the year ahead, 46% of adults AARP polled anticipate at least some difficulty balancing their job and caregiving; 20% expect a great deal of difficulty.
On top of worry about maintaining a balance at work and home, 63% of caregivers surveyed are concerned about exposing their loved one to COVID-19 and 59% worry about leaving care recipients home unattended while they go to work.
The AARP findings reveal that 48% of working caregivers do not have jobs allowing them to work from home.
No matter the employment status, age, or race of the caregiver, nearly four in five working caregivers felt more stress connected to caregiving because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The telephone survey, of U.S. residents 18 years or older who are working caregivers (full- or part-time), was conducted July 1-7. The sample of 800 caregivers was weighted by age, gender, income, education, and race/ethnicity.
For more information, please contact Laura Skufca at email@example.com.
Skufca, Laura. Working Caregivers' Concerns and Desires in a Post-Pandemic Workplace. Washington, DC: AARP Research, August 2021. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00482.001