CANBERRA: Age-friendly workplaces and allowing employees to retire voluntarily contribute to longer careers and better overall health of retirees, according to Australian researchers who undertook a study of older Australians in the workplace.
Using data from a decade-long national survey of 1,700 people aged between 45 and 64, medical doctor Cathy Gong from the Australian National University (ANU) was able to assess yearly changes in one’s health and well-being in relation to their gradual transition out of the workforce.
Gong said by catering to older employees, workplaces were contributing not only to longer careers, but also better overall employee health.
According to Gong’s team, being in an age-friendly workplace heightened the likelihood of a worker making it to voluntary retirement – something they said was vital to health and well-being later in life.
“People who left work involuntarily experienced significant decreases in their satisfaction with their finances, health and life, just in general,” Gong, from the ANU’s Research School of Population Health, said in a media statement released in the latter part of October.
“They were also more likely to be psychologically distressed and welfare dependent,” she said.
“Age-friendly workplaces, work flexibility, retraining and promotion of healthy lifestyles are vital to address the major causes of not working, enable people to have longer careers and enhance well-being in later life,” Gong added.
According to Gong’s colleague, professor Hal Kendig, having control over the decision to retire from the workforce was the greatest contributor to better health and well-being among older Australians.
“Voluntary retirement with control over the timing and manner of retirement has a positive impact on a retiree’s psychological and social wellbeing,” Kendig said in the media release.
“Enabling mature-aged workers to have longer careers offers benefits for both individual well-being and government budgets.”