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The Working Caregiver: Productivity

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What to do when caregiving duties encroach on your time at the office.

The working caregiver looks like any other employee. She goes to work every day. She wants to focus on her job, but sometimes caregiving duties come up. She may have to call the doctor or check in with a home health aide. Despite her dedication, her productivity suffers.

This lost productivity is called presenteeism. It is very costly for employers. But its cost is a problem for caregivers, too. When you know you aren’t doing your best, you feel that much more under strain. You might try to make up for lost time by working through lunch. You might use vacation time for caregiving rather than relaxing. As a result, caregivers often become sick or run-down. Productivity may decline even more.

What can a caregiver do to avoid presenteeism? The first step is to do what you can to ease caregiving.

Try to figure out what you are concerned about. This will help you find solutions that work for you. That can help you to feel relaxed and focus on your job.

Give yourself permission to take shortcuts. Have others do things at home so you can meet your work obligations. You might get a home health aide or have groceries delivered.

If you can’t afford to hire someone, reach out to a neighbor or family member who can help. Just as mothers who go back to work after having a child rely on a support network, lining up the right kind of help will free you to do what you need to do at work.

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