Simple Strategies for an Age-Friendly Workplace
Effective solutions for creating an age-friendly workplace don’t have to be complicated to costly. Creating age-friendly solutions will benefit every generation in the workplace.
Consider these tips for creating an age-friendly workplace:
- Prioritize workplace flexibility. Workers prefer jobs that provide more flexibility over those that offer more vacation days. To the extent possible, give workers a say in their schedule, work conditions, work organization, work location, and work tasks.
- Match tasks to abilities. Use self-paced work, self-directed rest breaks, and less repetitive tasks.
- Avoid prolonged, sedentary work. Prolonged, sedentary work is bad for workers at every age. Consider sit/stand workstations and walking workstations for workers who traditionally sit all day. Provide onsite physical activity opportunities or connections to low-cost community options.
- Manage hazards. Including noise, slip/trip hazards, and physical hazards – conditions that can challenge an aging workforce more.
- Provide and design ergo-friendly work environments. Workstations, tools, floor surfaces, adjustable seating, better illumination where needed, and screens and surfaces with less glare.
- Utilize teams and teamwork strategies for aging-associated problem solving. Workers closest to the problem are often best equipped to find the fix.
- Provide health promotion and lifestyle interventions including physical activity, healthy meal options, tobacco cessation assistance, risk factor reduction and screenings, coaching, and onsite medical care. Accommodate medical self-care in the workplace and time away for health visits.
- Invest in training and building worker skills and competencies at all age levels. Help older employees adapt to new technologies, often a concern for employers and older workers.
- Proactively manage reasonable accommodations and the return-to-work process after illness or injury absences.
- Require aging workforce management skills training for supervisors. Include a focus on the most effective ways to manage a multi-generational workplace.
For more information about productive aging and work visit NIOSH website: NIOSH Productive Aging and Work