Could job crafting be the solution to the UK's carer's conundrum?

Job crafting refers to shaping how we act, interact and think about the purpose of our work around our internal strengths, passions and aspiration and our external needs and responsibilities.

It allows for HR to cater for a diversity of employee needs which might present themselves at different periods of our life, including caring responsibilities, by enabling people to continually reshape how they do their work.

Working carers in the UK:

UK workers given day-one flexible working rights

Unpaid carer workforce grows by 4.3 million each year

Government backs new bills for pregnant workers and unpaid carers

Job crafting recognises that one size does not fit all when it comes to meeting these personal needs and empowers people to personalise their working arrangements to find better alignment and harmony in their overall life.

Adopting personalised working as a default expands the opportunities for people to find ways to make their most impactful contribution.

Job crafting can take a number of forms:

Task crafting

A colleague may request to work from home, or at the site where they have caring responsibilities. They could seek to temporarily dial down some parts of their job or responsibilities to better align with caring responsibilities.

Relationship crafting

Employees may seek out opportunities to connect with colleagues who have similar experiences or needs (and could even start a support group e.g. for parents with children with disabilities). They could also foster relationships with people who are willing to provide additional support or cover during peak periods of stress.

Purpose crafting

Aspects of the job could be reframed to find greater meaning and purpose. For example, they may see their job as an opportunity to develop skills that are useful in their caregiving role, such as time management or problem solving. They might also see their role as an opportunity to switch off from caregiver mode and focus on something that matters to them individually, offering them the opportunity to demonstrate independence and respite from caring responsibilities.

Rob Baker is founder of Tailored Thinking


The above first appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of HR magazine as part of the Carers in Crisis cover story.
Read parts one and two of The chaos of unpaid caring while in employment here.