work & care in central Switzerland

How is “work & care” managed in day-to-day business? An investigation conducted in selected organisations in central Switzerland provides some answers.

Basis

Careum Research, together with the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts , sheds light on the “work & care” situation in selected organisations in central Switzerland. Associated with increasing life expectancy is the desire among Swiss people that they will be able to stay at home, in a familiar environment, for as long as possible, even when faced with health issues.

Research shows that a person's partner is often the principal carer. In just over a third of cases, sons or daughters assume this role. These people often find themselves in a situation where, as well as caring for their elderly family members, they also have to manage their own family and professional commitments: two-thirds of sons and daughters are in employment. This gives rise to conflicting challenges when it comes to reconciling work and care.

Project

The “work & care in the context of the ageing demographic in central Switzerland” project contributes to the discussion of the issue in central Switzerland and makes recommendations for organisations and employees. The study focuses on the three following questions, which are posed to gain insight into the perspectives of employees, Human Resource management and general management:

  • How great is the extent to which employees in the organisation provide care and support to relatives alongside their job?

  • To what extent is HR management aware of the issue or already actively working on it?

  • How is the issue dealt with from a management perspective?

The research team interviewed twelve HR managers and one manager from various sectors. The findings of the investigation show that all organisations questioned have experienced the issue of “work & care”. However, concern is usually rated as being low. Most organisations report that they are faced with individual cases, which can be resolved individually. The investigation also shows that there is generally little specific knowledge regarding the reconciliation of work with caring for relatives. However, the organisations questioned are open to the issue and, in principle, have a positive attitude towards it.

There are various conditions that would enable work and care for relatives to be reconciled. In general, the following criteria were specified: sufficiently flexible and transparent communication culture, contact person and information point, absence management, awareness of the issue by the workforce and managers at all levels in the hierarchy. The investigation also revealed that, whether consciously or subconsciously, a distinction is made regarding whether the person is caring for a younger, older or elderly person.

Project team

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts: Prof. Christoph Buerkli, Prof. Yvonne Siegrist Mastai, Kathrin Jehle
Careum Research: Andrea Radvasky, Prof. Dr. Iren Bischofberger

Duration

December 2013–June 2015

Further information

Radvanszky, A. (2015). Umfrage zu «work & care». Themenapéro «Unternehmen Verantwortung». HSLU Soziale Arbeit, Luzern, 18.11.2015. PDF