Flexible Working Hours for Carers the Only Way Ahead – Warns Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Flexible Working Hours for Carers the Only Way AheadOne of the greatest challenges that Britain needs to brace itself for is to cope with the implications of the dementia time bomb looming large in the foreseeable future. With demographic trends clearly showing an ageing population, the major concerns are the associated age related ailments it brings. The incidence of people with dementia is projected to cross one million by 2020 and double by 2040 which means that there will be many among the workforce who would have caring responsibilities. According to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, it’s the employers and society at large that needs to change its attitudes towards the work culture if the country is to successfully deal with this situation. Adapting to flexible working hours is the only way to keep the economy up and running.

The statistics

The latest figures project that the number of people who would have caring responsibilities for someone with dementia is expected to reach 850,000 in the next 7 years – by the end of this decade. At present out of the 6.5 million people committed to caring for their elderly relatives, 2 million have already left the workforce, mainly due to the inflexible routine of the typical corporate office that leaves little time to attend to family requirements. This certainly does not augur well for the future of Britain’s economy and would most certainly lead to grave consequences. Businesses cannot really afford to allow experienced and talented people to quit working only because of a rigid, dogmatic work culture. Jeremy Hunt minced no words to express concern over what he termed as “failure on the part of employers to help the hundreds of thousands of people struggling to balance work and care commitments.”

Time to have a rethink

Hunt said it was time for businesses to have a “radical rethink of working practices” and to understand the “wider impact of the care crisis”. Employers need to be as sensitive to the special requirements of people with caring responsibilities as they are towards new parents. Popular perceptions towards flexible work have changed for the better but only when it applies to parents with very young children. The same attitude needs to extend to carers as well.

With the present economic scenario looking as tough as it can get and the future posing as a huge challenge given the demographic trends of an ageing population, it has become imperative for businesses to support carers and adapt work cultures to suit their needs. Expecting them to be able to strike a work life balance while juggling with inflexible work routines and caring responsibilities, is sure to have an adverse outcome for everyone – the workforce, employers and the economy at large.

Arise Virtual Solutions has been the proud pioneer of homeshoring since 1997 and the Arise flexible work model has achieved great success in providing business outsourcing and superior quality customer service to reputed brands across the US and UK/Ireland. Arise is committed to developing the flexible working hours concept into a worldwide trend that promises to give a much needed boost to the country’s economy.