How to Deal with Rapidly Advancing Technology and an Ageing Workforce

How to Deal with Rapidly Advancing Technology and an Ageing Workforce

With technology becoming so advanced, how do you ensure the ageing workforce can keep up? Here we explore the way the workplace is changing and what businesses can do to embrace it.

The workplace and the world of work is changing in unprecedented ways. We are currently transitioning into an era where AI, VR, software and advancing tech are commonplace and utilized as part of the everyday office. Not only are we seeing huge changes in technology, but we are also witnessing drastic adjustments in our expectations and the realities of the workplace. We are in a time of radical change not only in the way that we work but how work fits in with our society.

Our attitudes towards our careers are also changing. We are less likely to have jobs for life, and more likely to work freelance, embrace flexi-time and have multiple job pathways throughout our working lives. The workplace now has a new order; with a remote workforce and an increasing use of contracted or subcontracted workers redefining the employee and employer dynamic.

Changing attitudes in the workplace

One of the biggest changes is the challenge of the ageing workforce. People are living longer and working longer into their retirement years. The current state pension age in the UK is between 60 and 65 (depending on year of birth) for women and 65 for men, but if we look beyond these regulations we can see a trend emerging.

Both men and women are currently staying at work beyond the state pension age in the UK with 10% of over 65’s in work. By 2044 the retirement age for those born after 1978 will rise to 68, which will save the British government millions of pounds a year in pension funds, but what does this mean for the workplace?

Over the next few years, we may see many unforeseen transitions in the workplace; along with an evolution of how we approach the office environment. But the question remains, how can we use technology to upskill this ageing workforce?

Innovation and the changing workforce

Japan is a country with an ageing population and a declining birth rate, which has created a larger sector of older workers. Two thirds of Japan’s over 65’s, when surveyed, wanted to remain employed. Even though the state pension is enforced at 61 years of age, the actual average retirement age is now closer to 70. So what can we learn from this model and how should our workplaces adapt to an ageing workforce?

An ageing workforce can bring many benefits - experience and an understanding of the landscape of an industry are just some of the skills that older employees can bring to bear. The key to having a successful team lies in recruiting a diverse workforce. Many different opinions and backgrounds will make up a team that can view situations from many standpoints - therefore taking in the whole picture.

You can’t teach old dogs new tricks...or can you?

Innovation is what underpins good business and a strong team ethic. Using technology to upskill workers is crucial to help employees adopt the new digital landscape.

A survey of around 1000 workers aged over 50 discovered that 62% had not completed computer training skills. This creates a knowledge gap, where older workers are not prepared for their working environment. This is not just about educating workers, but creating a new culture of ‘lifelong’ learning. We must be constantly seeking new knowledge, but likewise managers must be preparing their older workforce for the digital changes that are to come.

Employers can encourage this culture of ‘lifelong’ learning through a continual approach to training. In the past, some employers have seen training as a box ticking exercise, but training can be much more than that. Personal development is often the outcome of ongoing training - meaning that employees can achieve new goals and become more equipped for their roles.

Moving forward:

Free up time to work on research and development, spend time on training opportunities and ensure you use new technology wisely. Job management applications such as Okappy streamline communications, therefore improving efficiency. The application works in real time and facilitates a reduction in paperwork, helping companies move towards the paperless office. Using apps such as Okappy increases connections and consolidates communications. Creating more efficiency in your job management processes creates more capacity, it frees up time for training and helps you grow and develop your workforce.

Taking steps into this new world of developing tech should be done by upskilling workers through training and building their confidence with tech. People are adaptable, but preparing them for change is extremely valuable in this changing environment. As long as workers are prepared and trained for the changes that are on the horizon, new technology can seamlessly be integrated into your office environment.

Author: I believe business can be a force for good, but all too often work ends up being painful as companies are overloaded with admin, paperwork and masses of emails. My mission is to improve the working lives of construction companies, giving them complete control of every job every step of the way and have some fun!

Insights for Professionals