Employmentin eCare & the Ageing Society
Successful participation in working life has a strong impact on life satisfaction, not just for older people. In line with Hannah Arendt’s understanding of the vita activa, work is one of the defining elements of the human condition. Although often regarded as a simple given fact, ageing presents unique challenges and opportunities in the employment domain, first of all for older employees themselves, but also for their friends and family, and their employers, as well as for society, a country's pension system and its wider economic performance.
Being able to remain in employment until retirement age can be an important source of self-affirmation for older people, with positive impacts on health and wellbeing. It can also be an economic necessity, whenever employees or family members depend on the income. From the point of view of a company, older employees can be an invaluable source of experience and knowledge with an important role to play in customer relations, production teams, co-worker education and other areas. At the same time, ageing can lead to a decrease in productivity, especially in jobs demanding high physical and/or mental performance. Without innovation to better attune work organisation to an ageing workforce, employers may feel themselves hard-pressed to retain older workers.
We support policy making on ageing and employment, and also provide expertise to companies in need of organisational innovation, for example in adapting business processes and work patterns to increases in the share of older employees. Our experience ranges from the analysis of labour markets to the development of highly effective methods and IT tools for use in companies. We specifically address issues of work-life balance for employees in need of flexibility. For example, we implement measures to strengthen resilience and reduce the burden of care for people with caring responsibilities (informal or family carers), accompanied by systems-level innovation to better integrate informal carers in the professional care loop. We also have a long track record in enabling organisations to implement IT-supported, flexible forms of work such as smart work / working from home.