There’s an unprecedented focus on mature workers these days. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was concern in many quarters about the challenges presented by the twin phenomena of a rapidly aging workforce and lower birth rates. However, with younger employees either quitting their jobs or becoming less available for traditional roles, many companies are now turning to older workers.
What’s more, they’re making a point of catering to the needs and preferences of these employees. Whether your organization already has a large number of 50-plus employees or you’re looking to recruit mature workers, you need to know how to support their wellbeing. Otherwise, you will lose them to an organization that’s willing to accommodate them. Let’s look at some of the things you may want to consider as you plan for a new year.
Both physical and mental health has an impact on wellbeing and workers expect you to nurture them in both areas. Mental wellbeing has become especially important given the isolation and stress brought about by the pandemic. Creating mental health programs that educate and empower your team can go a long way.
You may also need to take some less obvious steps. For example, by ensuring that your organization is properly staffed, you can keep workloads at manageable levels. Also, make an effort to respect the days and times when employees are off-duty and encourage them to take breaks during the workday. Why is this important? Research shows that long hours and high-pressure environments not only contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure but it can also increase symptoms of depression.
Your mature employees will also be better off if they have some level of autonomy in how they complete their duties. Workers who have limited flexibility over how they work could be more vulnerable to poor mental and physical health. Even relatively minor changes in this regard can make your team members healthier.
Though it may be difficult at first, organizational leaders should be open about their own challenges. By appearing human and showing vulnerability, it becomes easier for employees to talk about the things they’re struggling with.
Checking in with team members regularly is also very important. If your employees are mostly working from home, it may be more difficult to tell when they’re not doing well. However, you should make a point of asking them about whether they need additional support and then listening carefully when they answer.
If you can detect signs of fatigue or anxiety in the early stages, you may be able to prevent your employees from becoming overworked or burnt out. You should also encourage team members to see a mental health professional if they’re finding it hard to cope on their own.
Another reality is that mature employees often have to care for elderly parents. Some may also be looking after grandchildren or ill or disabled relatives. Informal care work can interfere with job duties unless certain accommodations are made. It’s not surprising that many people quit their jobs so they can take care of their loved ones.
Fortunately, according to the United Kingdom’s Employment Minister Mims Davies, several strides have been made during the pandemic to assist employees with care responsibilities.
In an interview with Age UK, Davies drew specific reference to embracing virtual platforms and not making individuals travel to work just for the sake of it. She said employers who understood what was going on with their employees’ lives and accommodated them would benefit from increased commitment. Older workers who get the support they need will be able to prolong their careers.
Even though people are living and working longer, there will still come a time when they retire. People who are in or approaching the last stages of their career need to be supported as they think about life beyond work. Many workers in mid-life are ill-prepared for this, but both the individual and the organization benefit from employees who have a strategy.
It’s a good idea to assist your older employers in planning for later life. Will they want to retire in full, or do they want to gradually reduce the number of days they work? Do they know how they’ll fund their retirement or how they’ll spend the time? Are there health issues they need to be concerned about? Your employees will feel highly valued if you take the time to help them with identifying their goals and taking steps to achieve them.
These are just a few of the things you can do to improve the health and wellbeing of your mature workers in 2022 and beyond. If you need additional help catering to the 50-plus crowd, the team at WiseForce will gladly help. Book a consultation today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.