WP2. In depth studies of strategies for long participation

Project leaders: Carita Håkansson and Mats Hagberg

Hereto research and interventions have focused on individual capacity and functioning. There is also some research on work demands/exposure. Less attention has been given to leadership, values, and attitudes of managers, and to how motivation, age-management and work-life balance influence a full or extended working life in ageing workers.

Aims

Exploring elderly workers motivation for a full or extended working life, and perceptions of how work-life balance influences their participation
Collecting the experiences of successful strategies for an extended working life
Define task demands in common work tasks and how they can be adjusted to the normal change in functioning for ageing workers and  in ageing workers with chronic diseases
Explore managers’ (HR-managers and first line managers) perceptions, attitudes and policies, including knowledge and experience from age management.

Method

Focus groups as well as a survey among ageing workers and managers will be used. Ageing workers 55 years of age or older, ageing workers beyond 65, and mangers and HR-professionals will be included.

Preliminary results

Explore managers’ (HR-managers and first line managers) perceptions, attitudes and policies, including knowledge and experience from age management.

Five areas emerged where managers verbalized perceptions and experiences associated with older workers; “Work capacity”, “Education”, “Technical devices and ergonomics”, “Organizational changes” and “A sustainable and extended working life”. The result shows managers range in attitudes from positive to negative which to some extend can confirm the results from previous studies on managers´ attitudes towards older workers. Many of the managers expressed the need for knowledge and guidelines to support their older workers physical and mental health, as well as their learning of new information and communications technology systems. In the managers’ views this could prevent their older workers from decreasing work capacity and furthermore facilitate the motivation for staying active in the work force, especially for their aging blue-collar workers. The managers emphasized that blue- and white collar workers in the workforce most likely meet different challenges when it comes to work capacity, health and aging, as well as the challenges between different occupations and working places and genus. These differences must be further explored and taken in account when developing strategies for a sustainable and extended working life in various settings.