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Tips for an Aging Workforce

11 December 2023

As the population ages, so does the workforce. In fact, as healthcare and fitness programs keep improving, people tend to maintain their health even in their old age and choose to work after retirement.

Whether this is because they want an extra source of income because they don't have enough in their retirement funds, or if they choose to work just so they can have something to do, what we do know is that the number of people above retirement age in the workforce is growing.

However, having an aging workforce also comes with its own set of problems, and will need to be managed differently. Here are some tips for an aging workforce.

Managing An Aging Workforce

Older people have different requirements and capabilities than younger ones, and it's important to keep this in mind when managing them. Let's look at how to manage and care for an aging workforce.



Understand the Needs of Older People

Of course, all employers and employees have different expectations and needs at the workplace, but there are some common trends among generations. For example, younger people will generally need a lot less accommodation in terms of physical capabilities because they will be able to take on higher levels of stress and effort without any downsides.

On the other hand, older folks - especially those past retirement age - will need this kind of accommodation. For one, because they are in their senior years, they will likely have more healthcare problems than younger folks, and will likely also have more limitations around how much stress and pressure they can handle without their bodies crying out.

Being understanding of these needs is important. Of course, a large majority of the workforce is still the youth, so you will likely still be forming your regulations around them, but keeping in mind that older people will need accomodations and being willing to provide these will prevent any conflict, hurt feelings and, in some cases, even injuries around the matter.



Training

Again, this will vary from person to person. Some people will need training more than others. Some will understand the tasks assigned to them and how to do these tasks a lot faster and with more clarity than others. However, in general older people have gotten used to doing things a certain way, and may feel that this new way is too difficult for them to get used to.

In such cases, it's important to train them properly and effectively, and make sure they understand how to use the tools at hand, what they have to do and how to do it. You may also need to supervise them more often to make sure they're not making any mistakes.

This isn't to say that older people are unable to understand new ideas and concepts, but many tools - especially technological ones - nowadays are made to be more intuitive for young people who grew up with these things than for other generations.

The widespread tech use also means that senior employees may need more help with mastering physical tools, as well as computers, skills and software. You may also want to teach them shortcuts and give some quick tips that will make the work easier for them than it would otherwise.

Regardless of whether the senior members of your workforce need supervision or not, providing them adequate training using methods that are easy for them to understand and learn from is important. This will help make sure that their tasks are carried out properly and efficiently, so that there aren't any problems with the work output, nor do they feel like they are being left behind.



Making Policies Around Health

Health policies are important as it is, but become extra important when your workforce has members above retirement age. Since older employees are much more susceptible to health problems, companies should have health policies that reflect their concern around these.

This could mean, for example, that health insurance plans or disability policies cover a larger spectrum of concerns, and retirement plans can be more robust. There can also be modifications made to the return-to-work program around sick paid leave, since senior citizens will typically take a longer time to heal from the same problem.

As such, their duties can also be modified when they do return so that they are not pushing themselves too much from the get-go.

Companies can also assess the accessibility of the business or the workplace itself for employees who may have chronic illnesses associated with age - such as the presence of elevators alongside stairs, or the ease with which employees can move around.



Assess Costs

Again, since seniors are more likely to face healthcare problems, you may have to assess the costs and make allocations accordingly. There may need to be added costs and time for the process of healing or rehab, and you may end up having to allow more medical leave days.

Of course, this should be done carefully. You want to prioritize your employees' health, but the functioning of your business and its finances is also important. Allocate an appropriate amount to cater to these medical costs to make sure that your employees remain healthy and care for, but keep an eye on the trends.



Following Good Ergonomic Practices

Ergonomics is important for everyone, but may actually be a lot more serious when it comes to older folks. That's not to say that young people don't need to be incorporating ergonomics into their lives, but older people are admittedly more susceptible to the risks that come with bad ergonomics.

For example, posture problems affect everyone, but it is a lot easier for the youth to get through the day following bad posture than an older person. Bad posture will definitely come back to cause problems, but these problems don't show themselves until some time has passed. A few consecutive weeks or months of holding your mouse in the wrong position, for example, would start to affect a young person, but for seniors, these effects are visible much faster.

Therefore, you should have a good, ergonomic workstation setup.

A good setup will involve a few things. A good desk is necessary to make sure that your employees are able to carry out their work easily. This desk should have enough space to keep all the required items around, without needing employees to have to reach out too far to grab them.

If they are working at a computer, they will also need a monitor mount, a keyboard and an ergonomic mouse to make sure they don't hurt themselves. Since using these the wrong way, or with bad posture can easily cause pain in the neck, back and shoulders, older citizens may also need training on good ergonomics, as well as how to manage their specific ergonomic needs according to their body's limitations.

And of course, a good chair is also necessary. This becomes extra important for older folks who may get tired easily, and need a good, comfortable chair that doesn't just let them sit, but does so in a way that keeps their bodies safe.



FlexiSpot's Ergonomic Office Chair C3

An ergonomic office chair with all the features needed to keep an aging body protected during a long work day, is the C3 by FlexiSpot.

It provides reliable ergonomic support in multiple ways. For one, it comes with a lifting mechanism that allows you to adjust the height of the chair to whatever you need so you can sit comfortably. Height adjustment is practically a necessity for office chairs since a very large number of injuries that stem from sitting too long actually come from working at the wrong height.

The chair also provides good lumbar support so your back remains safe and the pressure in your body can be released. Back support is important since back problems don't go away so easily. The chair also has a lock-in tilt position, which lets you lock the chair at an angle whenever you want to rest. With this chair, you can spend your lunch break right there at your desk if you want to nap, or just take a five minute breather between different tasks.

There are also adjustable armrests attached to the chair. These are not only liftable, in that you can adjust the height, but come in 3 adjustable positions so you can pick whichever one works best for you and work at that. This keeps your arms, wrists and shoulders supported.

The chair also has an adjustable lifting headrest. The headrest makes sure your neck and the back of your head gets adequate support, and you can also adjust the height of the headrest to meet your needs better. It also has an attached hanger at the back, so that if you want to take off your coat, you can take care of that easily.

The chair is made of mesh material, which is very breathable and allows air to pass through, so you don't end up tired and sweaty after a long day of work. It also has a seat height of 3.9 inches, which should work out for most people, including aging ones.