When you’re a caregiver, those duties don’t always fit neatly into the time allotted for “personal business.” Sometimes those needs leak over into the other parts of your day. Since those might be the ones currently in use by your employer, you might need to talk to your boss at some point.
You Don’t Have to Tell Every Detail
Sometimes caregivers get caught up in the details. While you need those details, not everyone does. In fact, some of the minutiae could slow down the conversation you’re trying to have. You only need to share what’s absolutely necessary for your boss to understand what you need and why you need it. That way you’re not spilling too many beans and your boss has the information that he needs.
You Do Need to Be Specific about What You Need
One aspect of what you’re asking for that you do need to be specific about is what you need. You can’t go to your boss with a vague idea that you might need to work from home more often, but you don’t know when or for how long. It’s important for you to know exactly what you need so that you can explicitly and succinctly share that with your boss. That’s your best hope for getting exactly what you need.
Bring Solutions with You and Stay Open Minded
Along with being specific, you need to have some solutions in mind when you open up this dialogue. If you’re only showing up with problems, that’s not going to go over as well as you might hope. Having at least one or two different options in mind can help to make this conversation less awkward for both of you. For instance, you might suggest working from home a certain number of days per week and then coming into the office for the other days, as long as you have coverage from home care providers at home. That type of solution offers a compromise for both of you.
Try to Plan for Changes
As much as you want it to, your plan is not always going to go perfectly. There are going to be times when your senior has needs you couldn’t have possibly anticipated. If you’re working to make sure that your employer isn’t getting the short end of the arrangement, it’s going to be a lot easier for them to be understanding when you need to change the plan abruptly.
It’s not always easy to juggle caregiving and your career, but it can be done. The first conversation or two that you have with your boss might feel a little awkward and that’s okay. You’ll gradually get used to expressing what you need, when you need it.