Accommodating an aging workforce

By: October 27th, 2008 Email This Post Print This Post

With spiraling economy and an indecisive stock market, America’s workforce is holding on to jobs longer while they still can.

Translation: we have an aging workforce, and don’t expect it to change anytime soon.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of workers 55 and older will grow 46.7% by 2016, 5.5 times the amount of overall labor growth.To accommodate these changing dynamics, medical facilities especially should concentrate on designing a safe and productive workplace for aging employees. Here are some tips:

  • Lighting: As the eyes age, they need more light to see what was once an easy read. A 50-year-old person needs two to three times the amount of light in their work space compared to someone half his or her age. Eliminating glare helps, as does providing consistent, even light levels.
  • Add color contrasts: Signs should use primary colors such as blue, green, etc. Pastels often cannot be discerned by older employees. Using 14 point or larger font in e-mails is also helpful.
  • Avoid falls: Skid-resistant floors that have some cushioning can prevent injuries. Eliminating clutter, reducing noise, and allowing frequent breaks to give aging workers more time to recover and additional hydration are also necessary to make the older worker more productive.
 

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