One out of five Canadians aged 65 and older reported working during the year of 2015, according to the 2016 Census. That translates to nearly 1.1 million individuals. It’s the highest proportion that has been recorded since the 1981 Census. Additionally, an estimated 30 per cent of the seniors who said they worked in 2015 also acknowledged that they did so on a full-time basis across the entire year.
As an employer in Canada, chances are you’ll have at least one older employee within your workplace. Consequently, you should be doing everything possible to support them so that they can continue to carry out their jobs effectively. In this post, award-winning stair lift manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts advises on how workplaces can be modified to suit older members of staff and ways that employers can support senior citizens at their company.
Assessing your current workplace from an ergonomic and accessibility perspective
One of the many ways to make your workplace more appealing to older workers is to take the time to assess your workspace and the tasks performed during a day’s work so as to ensure that nothing could be contributing to musculoskeletal issues. Make adjustments and improvements where necessary. Obviously, the measures will be different depending on the type of industry you’re a part of, with some options being mechanical assist devices introduced to achieve less stressful handling, for instance.
It’s also important to evaluate how accessible a workplace is for employees, like considering the distance someone must cover to get from their parking spot to their workspace, for example, as well as to and from either a break room or restroom once at work.
Once this has been performed, you should be able to find ways to make a space easier to navigate. If the workplace is not on the ground floor or over multiple floors, look at installing either a straight or curved stair lift on the stairs so that nobody experiences trouble navigating across levels. Automatic doors can make entering a building quicker too, while altering a layout so that workspaces are closer to break rooms could prove beneficial to both the employee and business as well.
1. Offer flexible working and part-time opportunities, not just full-time work
The standard 9-5 shift from Monday to Friday may not be appealing to some members of staff, especially as they age. Flexible hours and part-time roles could suit them much better.
With regards to part-time work, senior workers may appreciate shorter working weeks as that will give them an opportunity to transition out of the workforce more smoothly. Flexible working will give older employees the chance to remain in employment while better balancing their other responsibilities. They might need to care for an elderly loved one, for instance.
2. Make it clear how valued older workers are at your business
Many issues can be unnecessarily created if an employer simply makes assumptions about what an employee wants once they reach a certain age but remain in employment. Remove the guesswork by opening up dialogue with staff members. Regular one-to-ones with line managers prove very useful here, as they allow employees to get things off their chest or query aspects of their work in a private and confidential environment. As the employer, keep on reminding staff that your door is always open if someone needs anything too.
Don’t ever let people think that a workplace is only for one age group or demographic either. As a matter of fact, senior citizens can help provide a company with a diverse workforce which brings with it unique benefits.