50 Shades Darker: The Ageless Workforce and Flexible Working

4 December 2014

If you enjoy your career, have the option to work flexibly and are fit and healthy, chances are, you’ll be putting off retirement. More and more people want to work for longer if conditions are right, not simply because they have to for financial reasons. There are now more than 1 in 10 people over 65 still in employment. This number has grown dramatically in the last few years and the trend is set to continue.

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Right now

So what does this mean for today’s companies? As people are living for longer and having children later in life, a new demographic has emerged, the Sandwich Generation – those aged between 30 and 60 who are supporting elderly relatives while looking after children still living at home. This kind of situation brings with it extra caring responsibilities and pressures outside work. To support employees more effectively, companies need to look at their benefits package, and ensure they offer the most appropriate options like healthcare provisions, flexible working and childcare vouchers.

 

Look ahead

So adapting benefits to suit this changing employee pool not only benefits staff, but will also support companies in the long run. But where do you start? Look at implementing an effective wellbeing strategy, using these three areas to underpin it:

 

1. Prevention - Many of us will be at a desk for eight hours a day including not taking a break over lunch. Pack your canteen with delicious nutrition, instead of the usual comfort food. Focus on mineral and vitamin rich snacks and meals to ensure employees have the energy to work at any age for longer. Encourage employees to take a break over lunch, if senior executives are seen in the canteen it encourages other employees to leave their desks and recharge their batteries.

2. Early intervention - Issues are a lot easier to deal with if not left to fester. An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) can be an effective way for employers to help their employees. They are great source of support and give staff the opportunity to seek help without having to go to their manager, or HR department, especially if they’re slightly anxious about doing so. Similarly, if you notice a member of your team under pressure, or perhaps you’re aware of trouble at home, you can discreetly refer them to the EAP. This can do the world of good for someone’s wellbeing if they feel they can seek help while still being private and anonymous.

3. Protection - If an employee falls ill during their employment, it’s a load off their mind to know that they and their families will be taken care of financially. As outlined in our Blueprint research: ‘creating companies that care’, staff are beginning to value financial based benefits more, such as Sick Pay Insurance and Private Medical Insurance. Having a perk like Income Protection which protects employees who suffer long-term illness or injury, also hugely benefits your company financially, allowing you to predict accurately your sickness costs. An older workforce is more likely to suffer more longer term illnesses. It may be a opportune moment to review your benefits package so it’s tailored to your workplace demographic and include the benefits they will value the most. Don’t fall behind with the changing workforce – take a look at our report on key trends that will affect employee wellbeing and get familiar with these changes that will become more prominent as we look ahead to 2030...

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50 Shades Darker: The Ageless Workforce: An infographic by the team at Unum UK

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