3 Ways for Leaders To Improve Workplace Experiences For Carers

3 Ways for Leaders To Improve Workplace Experiences For Carers

By Tracey Liot

Tracey Liot has a professional career spanning 24 years of people-facing roles across Financial Services, Technology Sector and Charities. Alongside her professional duties, she has a personal commitment to support individuals in the workplace who also care for someone outside of work.

Tracey, herself a carer for her 10-year-old son Archie who has kyphoscoliosis (which is a deviation of the normal curvature of the spine), has the ability to look at workplaces with the lens of a carer. Having left workplaces previously due to discrimination and hostility she faced when attending crucial medical appointments for her son, she is committed to setting up a carers’ pledge for workplaces, where organisations can commit to advancing the visibility and value of caring. Setting up a carers’ policy, making the working environment a safer and more secure space for employees, will improve well-being and productivity.

Here Tracey uses her experiences of navigating the professional world, whilst also being a full time carer for her son, and suggests 3 ways in which workplaces can be more inclusive and accepting of carers.

Carers UK state “1 in 7 now struggle to balance work and caring”. The definition for carers is caring for someone who is older, ill, or disabled. To start improving the experience for carers at work, here are three ways you may not have considered before.

Firstly, can you answer “What percentage of your workforce are carers?” If it’s less than 1 in 7 employees disclosing they are carers, then I would question if they are bringing them whole selves to work.

So, how can organisations help?

No Judgement

“Being heard is so close to being loved it is almost indistinguishable”. One of my favourite quotes by Bobette Buster.

Being a values-led organisation is just one step to creating an inclusive culture, but do you know how your managers are embedding that culture in your teams? It plays a critical role in not only attracting the best talent but also retaining staff and creating a safe space for our employees to share they are a carer.

Creating time to build relationships is critical as a manager, because no one employee is the same. Some of the best managers I have had value and recognise everyone’s individual circumstances, creating an environment where people can bring their best selves to work. Personally, I’ve found changing the environment for 1:1s so impactful, not only for the team member but the ripple effect outwards on colleagues and the wider organisation.

Hearing first-hand from people’s lived experience, including senior leaders, will help create a shared understanding of what caring means and how carers can be better supported in the workplace. Employee networks can be a great enabler of positive change: they nurture a supportive community and develop a culture of belonging, where people feel safe to show up as themselves. If we zoom out for a moment, consider what a carer may have to juggle and feel they have to keep quiet about in the workplace. A carer may be delivering the shopping to an elderly parent or driving out of a catchment area to a school that meets their child’s needs, all while ‘masking’ and keeping up appearance. Being a carer doesn’t make them any less able to show up and perform but with a little flex and open communications carers could work in a way that allows them to do their very best work and feel the benefit of a supportive and open work environment – psychological factors that play into retention of talent. So for organisations looking to stay ahead of the competition and create workplaces of the future, a more nuanced, inclusive and multi-layered approach to workplace culture is needed – no company can afford to sit back and do nothing as the rise of carers grows.

Showing carers as visible and valued, will lead to greater productivity and a society where we value caring roles too, which disproportionately falls on women.

By the end of 2026, the UK will have more people aged 65+ than under 18 for the first time in its history (source: https://cps.org.uk/research/justice-for-the-young/)

The number of carers in your workplace is going to rise as we all start to live longer. The quicker you know who they are, or could be, the better the culture in your organisation and you may even attract more staff in the process.


Emotional intelligence or EQ is a valuable skill for organisations Daniel Goldman’s work on emotional intelligence shows empathy as being the key to developing emotional intelligence. He defines three types of empathy; cognitive (the desire to understand) emotional (desire to feel) or compassionate (desire to help and support).

Here I break down each step, to share valuable insights.

  • How often do you create the desire to understand what it is like for a carer? It is important to hold regular 1:1s at the right time, it helps! And getting your meeting culture right and balanced is critical. I love how some companies approach no meetings before 9.30am, or during lunchtimes 12–2pm or after 4.30pm to include those that may need more flexibility in their day. It is also a time when hospital or appointments can be made without creating overwhelm in an already busy day.
  • Do you really feel you can walk in the shoes of that individual? Lunch and learns and your employee network are a great way to show your allyship to carers and gain greater insights into the lived experiences of colleagues within your workplace. This will also help other marginalised groups such as those with a disability, those going through IVF, Menopause, adopting, or even taking your pet to the vets.
  • Can you show compassion with help and support for Carers? Leading organisations are choosing to value a world of caring with a generous annual leave entitlement, and give an extra10 days annual leave per year – this means you can still get a holiday as a carer. These organisations will also match another 10 days if you buy 10 days worth of annual leave.

On April 6th 2024, the Carer’s Leave Act will come into force for all employers entitling unpaid carers to take up to one week of unpaid leave. How can you communicate your position on this new law with compassion to your internal and external stakeholders?


Wellbeing score’s are key to driving performance at work and your employee value proposition. (EVP) The more we embrace each other’s strengths and individual circumstances, the better your organisations will be as a result.

Skills others may have to work on like resilience, patience, empathy, prioritising, and even time management, become second nature to carers as it’s a part of their daily lives. They live and breathe ‘the juggle’, normally many hours before a 9:00AM start or a 5:00PM finish. These superpowers are real benefits that employers wouldn’t want to miss out on.

About Tracey

Tracey Liot, is an Inclusive Workplace Creator. Advancing carers visibility and value in organisations to drive productivity by embedding a carers policy, culture change and training. She is launching the carers pledge this Spring for organisations to commit to caring at work. She can provide additional consultancy, line manager training and speaker opportunities to workplaces. Organisations that commit to the pledge are able to display the carers pledge badge.

You can follow Tracey’s journey here.


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