Would the Offer of Flexible Hours Encourage You to Keep Working? By Robin Trimingham
While companies across North America once looked for any opportunity to encourage older workers to retire to make way for ambitious younger players, the number of Baby Boomers exiting the workforce has increased to the point many employers are starting to rethink their employee management strategies.
Although older workers used to be thought of as “burned out”, resistant to change, slow to adapt to technology and costly due to the higher wages associated with their many years of service; a study conducted by Wharton School of Business has concluded that older employees actually adapt well to new technology when properly trained, have lower rate of absenteeism, and better overall job performance than younger workers.
According to the labor market analytics firm ESMI, the loss of labor, and more importantly the loss of intellectual capital when workers retire without fully transferring their knowledge to incoming replacements is taking its toll in industries that have a large proportion of workers over the age of 55 especially: manufacturing, educational services, real estate, utilities and the healthcare industry.
Faced with this shortage of seasoned employees, an increasing number of companies are now looking for ways to accommodate the needs of older works and incentivize them to keep working, or to accept new part-time roles featuring flexible hours, work from home options, less stress and reduced physical demands. Some companies are even contacting retired workers inviting them to return to employment to bolster their finances, receive much needed benefits and even benefit from the social interaction of a work environment.
Using the wages earned to bolster retirement savings, delay commencing government or private company pensions, pay down existing debt, or simply supplement existing retirement income can make sound financial sense now, and help insure that your retirement money will last for the duration of your life.
These new flexible work options are also making it feasible for many older employees to find a sense of balance and renewed purpose in the third phase of their lives. By avoiding overtime and long commutes, many can work 20-30 hours per week from the comfort of home and still have plenty of free time to spend with family or pursue other interests. Still others prefer project based work that keeps them busy for 2-3 months at a time with breaks in between, or seasonal work (such as offered by the national park system), or relief work such as providing temporary labor to cover maternity leave, sick leave, or vacations.
In the third phase of life can even afford to be a little fussy! Since this “retirement work” is most likely not your only source of income, you can feel free to choose work that interests you or stimulates your creativity over simply the highest paying option. And if your needs, interests, or circumstances change, you can easily look for another position that is more to your liking.
By Robin Trimingham