Bosses deploy flexibility for older workers

Employers are using flexible working to cater to the needs of the ageing workforce, according to research by the trade body for the group risk industry.

Group Risk Development (GRiD) said 27% of employers are using flexibility in this way. It added that 22% see dealing with the ageing workforce as a top three health and well-being priority.

GRiD said 19% of employers have modified roles and 16% changed procedures to ensure the needs of older workers are met since the default retirement age was abolished. A further 14% have introduced different working patterns, such as more frequent breaks, and 10% have brought in training for older workers.

Of those questioned, only 11% said they had seen absence rates rise because of the older workforce and 20% have seen a rise in age-related conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. The bulk – 59% said they had seen no absence rise despite the average age of the workforce increasing.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for Group Risk Development (GRiD), said: “It is reassuring to see employers introducing initiatives to support older workers, as these employees can bring another level of skill to a business that years of experience has given them. However, it is equally important to recognise the challenge that the resultant increase in absence rates and age-related conditions can have on a business.

“Whilst it’s encouraging to see that employers are adjusting their work environment, we still see a lot of employers who have not changed their benefit plans to accommodate older workers so it’s worth revisiting benefit provision to ensure that it fully reflects the business’s intentions around the needs of its ageing workforce.”

She added: “This is also about protecting businesses. To reap the benefits that older workers can bring, employers must address the possible challenges ahead and act now to ensure they have robust initiatives and benefits in place to ensure they can effectively manage the health and attendance of an older workforce when the time comes.”

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