Stuck In The Middle: Stress And ‘The Sandwich Generation’

Editor’s note: The COVID-19 global pandemic has urged companies around the world to focus their attention on providing for the health and safety of their employees and preparing their organizations for a period of disruption. On top of our regular articles examining the longer-term issues and trends impacting organizations, The One Brief will also bring our readers insights into the current situation.

A mix of economic, demographic and health-related trends has created a generation of people who find themselves stuck in the middle while caring for both their children and their aging parents or other relatives: the “Sandwich Generation.”

With worries that go beyond typical anxieties over the wellbeing of children and parents, members of the Sandwich Generation are likely to feel burdened by the financial stress of caring for both. And they face the additional pressure of being pulled in multiple directions as they attend to their own responsibilities while trying to be good parents – and children – to their dependents.

This predicament has a potential impact in the workplace. As the Sandwich Generation manages the pressures of caregiving, these pressures might spill over into work as absenteeism, decreased productivity or increased staff turnover. But employers who recognize the issue and develop strategies to help Sandwich Generation workers address their challenges and reduce their stress will be rewarded with healthier, happier and more effective employees.