Acknowledging the Aging Workforce

National Employ Older Workers Week is celebrated annually during the last full week of September and is a reminder of our diverse, aging workforce!1 In an article posted by the United States Census Bureau in 2012, it was projected that the nation’s population aged 65 years and older will more than double between 2012 and 2060, jumping from 1 in 7 residents to about 1 in 5 residents.With a growing aging population, the workforce today is made of several generations ranging from the Millennials (born 1981-2000) to the Traditionalists (born 1922-1945).3

To better support such a multigenerational workforce, consider implementing or modifying some of these strategies in your workplace4,5

  • Flexibility at the Workplace: Flexibility allows employees to have more of a voice in how and when they work
    • This can include welcoming employee input when planning their schedule, working conditions, location, and tasks.
    • Older employees may work more efficiently in self-paced roles
      • Contemplate permitting self-directed rest breaks and fewer repetitive tasks
  • An Ergo-Friendly Environment
    • Prolonged sitting at any age is not a healthy practice
      • Offer standing workstations and chances for physical activity at the workplace, such as time for stretching or walking
      • Stretching, as covered in this previous MA Working on Wellness Blog, is good for the mind and body!
    • Ensure that the workplace environment, such as the floor surfaces, seating, and computer equipment, are both comfortable and safe to promote an efficient work environment
  • Skill-Building Across Generations: Foster opportunities for skill-building across all age levels, such as a lunch-and-learn session on using technology
    • Offer chances for employees from different generations to learn from one another
      • Devoting time for the aging workforce to train or mentor younger generations will help strengthen your overall team and prepare employees for more advanced responsibilities
  • Be Proactive
    • Have return-to-work processes and reasonable accommodations in place in the event that an employee is absent due to injury or illness

The experience, knowledge, and skill of the aging workforce can be a valuable asset in your workplace. Use these strategies and more to help your workplace reap the full potential and benefits of having an aging and multi-generational workforce!



[1] National Employ Older Workers Week

[2] U.S. Census Bureau Projections Show a Slower Growing, Older, More Diverse Nation a Half Century from Now

[3] Capturing the Wisdom of Four Generations

[4] National Employ Older Workers Week is a Chance to Reflect on the Safety and Health Needs of Older Workers

[5] 6 Tips for Managing an Aging Workforce