London, UK,

The workplace: at the heart of carer-friendly communities

Mark Brightburn, Associate Director, Environment & Infrastructure Europe and carer to his wife and children

Everyone, including you, might have some caring responsibilities at some point in life. This may be care for your parents, partner, children or another family member or friend. In the UK today, there are 6.5 million carers.

The level of care required may vary greatly according to the severity and progression of the illness or situation, as will the impact on your life.

A key factor in being ready to deal with any care need is awareness and preparation. Often, the care need can be foreseen and planned for, but sometimes it can be thrust upon you at short notice.

For working adults, if the need to care for someone arises, balancing work and care can become an issue. According to Carers UK, two-thirds of carers (66%), give up work or reduce their hours to care.

At Amec Foster Wheeler we recognise this and are actively leading the way, along with an increasing numbers of companies around the world, making the workplace a carer friendly place.

We achieve this by:

  • Having policies on leave arrangements and flexible working hours
  • Having an employee assistance programme
  • Listing external support networks
  • Hosting an internal employee-led network to share knowledge, understanding and support.

The workplace can be a carer friendly community where carers feel supported to look after their family or friends, while being recognised as individuals with needs of their own.

During Carers Week, 6 to 12 June 2016, the Carers UK charity is inviting everybody to get involved and recommend organisations, services and employers to commit to becoming carer friendly. Building carer friendly communities is not instant, but the work we are doing here at Amec Foster Wheeler is a great step forward.

At Amec Foster Wheeler, we care.

Meet the blogger

Mark BrightburnMark Brightburn is an Associate Director working in Urban Design in the UK. He set up Amec Foster Wheeler’s first Diversity & Inclusion Network Group called ‘We Care’ for all staff who may find themselves working and caring at some point in their career. Mark has care responsibilities for his wife, who has multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, and their three young children. He is also an active member of Carers UK as an Insight Volunteer, supporting the development of new policies and research, including the new Government Carers’ Strategy currently being drafted.