by Mary Kate Goodman

Backup care can be as important for your organization as it is your employees.

Employees love having access to a high-quality, flexible backup care program, and it’s easy to understand why. It eliminates the stress of scrambling to find alternate child care or senior care when regular caregiving arrangements break down. With a backup care program in place, reliable care alternatives are just a phone call, email or text message away.

In addition, trusted family members and friends qualify as backup caregivers and can be reimbursed for their valuable time. Employees also get 24/7/365 access to live care representatives — not just an online database of caregivers. These live representatives carefully assess each employee’s unique needs and can help secure the most suitable care at any time of the day or night.

From your employees’ perspective, what’s not to love? But backup care doesn’t only benefit your people. It’s every bit as helpful to your organization as a whole. Here are five key ways that a flexible backup care program can improve your organization and its bottom line:

  1. Slash Absenteeism and Productivity Losses: Nearly half of all working parents miss an average of four work days at least once every six months due to child care breakdowns, which costs U.S. businesses about $4.4 billion a year in lost productivity, according to Slate.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey reported that full-time workers who care for aging loved ones miss a combined total of more than 126 million workdays per year, costing their employers $25.2 billion annually in lost productivity. Implementing a backup care program enables you to curb caregiving-related absenteeism and associated productivity losses.

  1. Reduce Presenteeism, Stress and Health Issues: As noted in a 2017 report by AARP and the Northeast Business Group on Health, employees who balance caregiving and work responsibilities often fall prey to presenteeism and spend time during business hours dealing with caregiving challenges and emergencies. In addition, caregiving-related stress and anxiety can take a personal and professional toll on employees. As the report notes, “Caregiving employees often end up feeling isolated or depressed and are less likely to have the time and energy to tend to their own health needs. This can, in turn, lead to illnesses such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, causing further problems for the caregiver as well as higher healthcare costs for employers.”

A backup care program can substantially mitigate these negative impacts by giving employees easy access to reliable care arrangements along with resources designed specifically for working parents and people caring for seniors.

  1. Improve Employee Loyalty and Morale: Providing employees with work-life support programs — such as reliable backup care — has long been regarded as an effective strategy for earning their loyalty, maintaining morale and keeping them from jumping ship. A recent Forbes article underscored this correlation, reporting that one out of four workers who felt they had no support regarding adequate work-life balance made plans to quit within the following two years. In fact, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health, 2 million working parents quit their jobs in 2016 because of child care problems alone.

Forbes also noted that employees who feel they have a positive work-life balance are 21 percent more dedicated to their work than those who don’t. The article says that, to reap the benefits of improved employee morale and loyalty, an employer “only has to offer beneficial work-life services and policies that employees can choose to participate in.” A backup care program can help your employees balance their caregiving and work responsibilities, which may enable them to reach their full potential at work.

  1. Attract and Retain Talent: With U.S. unemployment rates at historic low levels, the competition to attract and retain talent is fiercer than ever. In this highly competitive environment, supportive workplaces that help employees effectively integrate their work and family lives are a powerful draw for working parents and individuals caring for seniors. These candidates are seeking employers who offer supportive benefits like backup care, as even millennials want benefits that improve their lives and the lives of their family members, according to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce Survey. The survey also found that millennials are much more willing than other generations to change jobs to get these supportive benefits.
  2. Address a growing demand: As data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows, among married-couple families with children, 61 percent live in households where both parents are employed. The AARP also reports that one in six employees is a caregiver for an older loved one or friend. It’s no wonder, then, that utilization of LifeCare‘s Backup Care Connection program increased more than 40 percent last year. As the population ages and more working families require dual incomes, the need for backup child and senior caregivers is only going to grow.

Backup care can be as good for your organization as it is your employees. After all, even employees without caregiving responsibilities will appreciate backup care, as it prevents colleagues from foisting work on them when caregiving arrangements go awry.

For more information, visit Lifemart on ADP Marketplace.

This article originally appeared on SPARK Powered by ADP.

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