Managing employees health is a key challenge
The inevitable ageing of our workforce presents both challenges and opportunities to employers, with managing the employees’ health likely to be one of the key challenges.
Today’s workforce is likely to contain a higher proportion of older workers because of factors such as increased life expectancy, removal of the default retirement age and raising the State Pension Age, which means that many people will need, and want to continue working. Therefore, employers need to consider how older workers are being managed within the workforce. As a result there will be subtle changes and Occupational Health (OH) professionals are well placed to help employers through this process.
As it is understood that health deteriorates with age, business should take a proactive approach to their workers’ health which will hopefully mean that any health deterioration can be drastically reduced. Many chronic diseases can be controlled and assisted by adjustments being put in place in the work environment and employers should consider older workers’ need and make adaptations to working strategies. For example changing work patterns, increasing work flexibility, considering working from home and introducing opportunities for older workers to choose to move to other types of work. In addition, employers need to consider the activities of which older workers would carry out, as part of their overall risk assessment process. This may include, for example redesigning tasks that contain an element of manual handling in such a way that they eliminate or minimise the risk.
In essence, the knowledge and experience of OH professional should be widely used to create a better and health-adjusted working life. OH is best placed to not only deliver health promotion initiates, but to also assist employers to make adaptations to their working strategies.
A recent study by Prudential found that a fifth of retirees not ready to give up work.
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