Not surprisingly, in these cash-strapped times, it is highly likely that the age at which we can draw our state pension will also increase in future in line with greater life expectancy. Equally predictably, this has drawn a mixed response from employers, staff and associated organisations.
On the one hand, many see such a move as a clear victory against ageism in the workplace. Others, by contrast see it as a retrograde step, taking us back to the dark days of Dickensian working practices. At the same time, this will also be a huge benefit to those businesses keen to retain access to older workers’ valuable skills and experience.
Yet whatever the individual reaction, what is clear is that affordable web conferencing and remote access tools are now available which can support more flexible working practices. This will be a boon for older workers who want to ease into retirement and cut down work-related travel. By accessing such tools, they can collaborate with their colleagues and clients wherever they are located and with no loss of productivity or effectiveness.
Yet some employers are also unhappy about this too. They argue about the potential costs and challenges of managing an older workforce, including the risk of increased health problems, greater absenteeism and reduced personal mobility.
However, by enabling secure remote access to desktop PCs or Macs, those employees looking to extend their working career by working less in the office, for example, can work easily from home and remain fully operational.
By providing the tools to allow employees to work from anywhere and with anyone in this way, businesses can help older staff in particular achieve the work/life balance they would like, without damaging productivity in any way.