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Facilitate Magazine

Older workers’ needs ‘must be taken seriously in future workplace’

Extra efforts need to be put into updating work safety as the needs of and the diversity of the workforce change, according to data.

For example, there have been several reports over the past few years of older workers entering or staying within the workforce, so their needs must be considered more closely.  The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data also reveals that a record number of over-50s are now in work.

Research by lone worker app StaySafeApp.com states that one consideration is flexible working, which is now expected across generations, but, it adds that it’s important “to understand that older workers may have different needs when it comes to their work arrangements than younger members of staff”. 

Some may seek reduced hours, flexible schedules, or remote work options for family commitments, health reasons, or other commitments and restrictions. Employers should be prepared to accommodate these requests, wherever possible to foster an open and flexible working environment that will work for older employees’ lives.

Health issues

Health issues can become more common with older workers and therefore they “may have unique requirements when it comes to supporting their wellbeing in the workplace”.  

The research adds that employers “must conduct full health and safety checks and take steps to ensure workers feel comfortable, informing them about any health issues that may impact their work” and “it’s also important that they are prepared to make arrangements or changes to adapt to any requests from an employee”. 

There is also a need to offer more “health and wellness programmes and provide access to healthcare resources to support the physical and mental wellbeing of older employees”.

Training should also be considered – “especially for physically demanding or high-risk tasks, and tailored to each employee” to guarantee “individual safety and drive awareness of safety procedures should the worst happen”.

Don Cameron, CEO at StaySafeApp.com, commented: “These ONS statistics showcase the changing face of the UK workforce and reaffirm the importance of re-evaluating workplace policies and practices catering to the changing demographics of the UK workforce from the ground up. Our own lone worker landscape report found that workers aged 45 and over are more worried about workplace hazards than their younger counterparts, and as such, it’s imperative that employers prioritise the health, safety, and wellbeing of older workers to create a more productive and harmonious work environment for all employees.”