Millennials put flexible working near the top of the list when it comes to what they want from a job. So, when talking about new ways of working, it’s easy to focus on younger employees. But according to a recent report,[1] flexible working is also needed to meet the demands of an increasing number of older workers.

What do older workers want?

Today, there are 10.2 million people over 50 in employment in the UK. In response, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) commissioned a study to look at the needs of older employees. And, the survey of more than 12,000 workers over 50 found that:

  • 78% of respondents would like more flexible hours
  • 73% said they wanted to see more part-time positions offered
  • 63% said there should be more training and retraining schemes to help ageing workers gain new skills and deal with technology.

How flexible working benefits older employees

There are many reasons why flexible working appeals to workers over 50. These include:

  • The ability to balance work with personal health circumstances
  • Helping older employees to remain in employment for longer
  • To enable a phased transition to retirement
  • To support wellbeing through social interaction.

Just as important, by failing to allow older workers to work less conventional hours, this could be depriving the UK of many crucial skills.

What is the government doing to help?

In a bid to tackle age discrimination and protect the rights of older workers the government aims to remove inequalities and promote a “vibrant and inclusive” job market. And flexible working is very much part of this strategy with MP Kelly Tolhurst calling on employers to help.

Talking about this issue, she said: “Employers have an invaluable role to play in meeting the needs of older workers and we want to encourage employers, where possible, to adopt flexible working practices”.

However, encouraging employers may not be enough, and some groups are pushing on the government to impose flexible working policies on employers.

Flexible working benefits employees of all ages

According to the Centre for Ageing Better: “Flexible working is important for workers of all ages and is a key component of an age-friendly and inclusive workplace.” And education around this issue is vital to help get businesses on board.

Some of the benefits of offering flexible working include:

  • Increases in productivity. One of the main reasons why organisations of all shapes and sizes are embracing this trend is that it can lead to improvements in productivity
  • Attracting the best staff. Flexible working is among the top work perks British employees want.[2]

Crucially, with the right technology in place, it’s easier than ever for people to work flexibly. Indeed, increasing home broadband speeds, mobile devices, cloud-based hosted desktops, apps and video conferencing are making the transition painless for everyone involved.

If you’re thinking about investing in technology to help your business to benefit from flexible working practices, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 to find out more.


[1] Ageing Society Grand Challenge report. The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)