Thoughts While Not Commuting

In the hours I’m saving, daily, from commuting (driving or walking) to and from meetings, errands and parenting obligations or shopping (online or in person) I find myself thinking a lot about all the things that I would have continued to take for granted BCP (Before COVID Pandemic).

There’s a lot to rethink, like the joy of walking the aisles of a hardware store and being offered help from someone who knew how to fix my problem.  And the ability to see a chuckle from a co-worker when I convey the victory resulting from that newly learned.

These last weeks of working from home have reminded me of what a benefit a place of work actually is.  For so long I’ve advocated that everyone should have the luxury of working from home.  It was and will again be a luxury.  Now, it’s a business continuation necessity.

Thank you for all of those who advocated for the ability, who created the technology and security features that enables many of us to carry on in our home offices, guest bedrooms, or kitchen tables.  And thank you to the teams of individuals who transitioned workforces’ home, never thinking those business continuation exercises would be needed.

As some businesses continue, we all know that many cannot.  And neither can their benefits.  For the last several months I’ve been preparing to launch my product, Caregiven, as an employee-benefit offering.  While this plan hasn’t changed, I’m having a difficult time thinking through the rationale that led me to this distribution channel.

In surveys and customer discovery research, caregivers told us that they would hope that a solution like Caregiven would be made available to them from their trusted advisors.  These trusted advisors have names like attorney, financial planner, doctor, faith leader, insurance broker and employer.

One (1) in every five (5) employees is also caring for an aging or ailing loved-one; 72% of individuals giving care work professionally 30 or more hours per week.  What better way to offer a service like Caregiven, than as a benefit to assist these employees in managing the overwhelm of caregiving while continuing work?

The ability to work from home along with flexible work hours are two of the most attractive benefits for caregivers.  Which is now our reality.  Digital tools and resources to support caregivers are also highly desired.  Which is where Caregiven fits in.

Our goal is to ensure that Caregiven reaches those individuals who need it most in as frictionless a manner as possible.  But now I think, as an employee benefit, Caregiven would be discontinued along with their other employee benefits when someone loses their job or the business they work for can no longer continue.

Naturally Caregiven will be available to any consumer do download.  That’s not really what I’m wrestling with.  The issue is that so many incredible benefits are available to those who work and they are tied to that job, that employer.

When that business discontinues or can no longer maintain their workforce, not only are the benefits that have been sustaining many employees gone, so are the means to pay out of pocket for their continuation.

While I’ve known this is an issue with healthcare in particular, I had never followed all the dots to the final full stop.  Perhaps that’s a benefit of having worked during the era of employee benefits, where so many wonderful things have been offered to support me because I’ve chosen to work where I did.

Having the time to think, taking the time to think, to plan to continue to serve those who need caregiving support when their employers can no longer continue to offer benefits is a luxury that I have until Caregiven is launched.

Until then, perhaps I can encourage you to join me in using our saved commute time to reflect not only on the luxury of going to work but in thinking about ways we can ensure continuity of benefits when business can’t continue.

We're in this together...

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Candice Smith

Shortly after her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Candice Smith decided to read his favorite book, How Green Was My Valley. The impact of Richard Llewellyn's words when he wrote: “Men like my father cannot die. They are with me still, real in memory as they were in flesh, loving and beloved forever” changed how Candice viewed her father’s end-of-life journey and how she celebrates his memory. Inspired to change the experiences for all family caregivers, in 2017 Candice founded Caregiven. When she’s not advocating for how individuals, societies and cultures think and approach death, she’s celebrating living in the Pacific NW with her husband, two children, family and friends (pets included).

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