Striking the perfect balance between work and home life is the holy grail of working individuals of any age. The advantages are clear and well documented. With a greater sense of ownership and control over their personal lives, employees feel better motivated and able to perform in the job, have better relationships with management and co-workers and generally feel less stressed about juggling the demands of a career and family life.
For employers who promote a balanced work environment for their staff, tangible benefits include higher employee retention rates, better productivity and lower training costs, to name just a few. It’s a win/win situation as long as you offer the right support and benefits to your workforce.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that older employees have different needs to the younger generation. Beer Friday policies, generous maternity or childcare sickness leave may not be of much value to Baby Boomers who are probably used to a more traditional work ethic. In order to connect with our growing aging workforce and sustain their needs for work-life balance, staff benefits and perks may need to be adapted for the over 50s.
Here are 7 ways that this could be achieved.
- Generous private health insurance
Health is the Number One concern for aging employees. The provision of private health cover will go a long way towards alleviating any concerns about the quality, availability and affordability of medical care in case of problems. Whether it’s a recurring back problem, a chronic illness such as heart disease or arthritis, or a sudden health shock, having a company policy in place means that any health issue can be dealt with swiftly, minimising staff downtime.
- Preventative health initiatives
From the age of 50 onwards, regular health screening and medical check-ups are highly recommended as a precautionary measure to identify symptoms before they have a chance to turn into a serious medical issue. Private health ‘MOTs’ are designed to give a clear picture of a person’s current physical and mental health, while identifying any risks of developing future health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure. It can also include skin checks and screening for breast, bowel or prostate cancer.
- Wellness benefits
Above and beyond the narrow medical definition, wellness benefits can include gym memberships, massage, acupuncture and other complementary treatments to support the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff. Some companies take staff benefits to extremes, offering sabbatical leave to pursue creative talents, ‘yay days’ to enjoy a favourite outside activity, a fixed travel allowance, access to personal counselling or life coaching, or generous death-in-service provisions.
- Encourage tech training and lifelong learning
The fast pace of change in digital technologies and social media means that knowledge can quickly become outdated. Older employees in particular will appreciate support in keeping up with new tech developments with regular workshops and training opportunities. Many companies now encourage lifelong learning beyond the job itself, with educational staff benefits through online learning, in-house courses or evening classes to keep the mind active.
- Flexible working hours
It’s not just young families that benefit from flexible working arrangements. Whether it’s to accommodate doctor’s visits, extended dog walks or visits from the (grand)children, the ability to fit both work and home comfortably into the day will make for an all round happier person. Flexible work scheduling, remote working from home or part-time work contracts should all be considered as solutions to keep older team members on the payroll for longer and benefitting from their valuable contribution to the business.
- Pensions provision
Understandably, older staff members have a different perspective on life than younger team members. Once past 50, retirement and pensions planning suddenly looms large on the horizon. Regardless of whether any provisions have already been made privately, a company pension scheme that goes beyond the legal requirements of auto enrolment will be seen as a highly valued staff benefit that can be used to attract and retain employees in their senior years.
- Phased retirement
Adopting a flexible mindset when it comes to employment models will allow you to utilise the skills and insights provided by your older employees all the way to retirement. A recent study discovered that poor wellbeing among retired workers is associated with a lack of control over their retirement decision. Why not offer part-time opportunities or consultancy work to gradually ease the transition from working life to retirement?