When we were approached to share our knowledge about the impact of stress on older workers, our first thoughts were how is this demographic defined? A generally accepted threshold seems to be 50 to 55 years old and above.
Recent research shows that work related stress has risen across all age groups since the start of the pandemic. A concerning pattern, however, shows that a larger number of older staff are reporting ‘burnout’, more than was seen before COVID-19, and causing some to leave their employment.
Organisations can make a difference by tackling the stigma that surrounds mental health. There is a real risk that older, more senior employees find it more difficult to access support if they project an aura of infallibility and hide their vulnerability. If we make the shift to a culture where speaking up about mental health is accepted then those older workers will feel more comfortable about sharing their concerns.
Older workers may also experience more physical health conditions, and the potential stress of managing a physical health condition may negatively impact mental health.
We do have to be cautious though about making links between age and burnout. Evidence is mixed with some studies showing that the rich experience older workers have relates to the enhanced ability to regulate emotions, which of course serves as a protective factor when managing stressful situations. It is still crucial, however, that this valuable group of employees can get help when they need it.
If we spend some time identifying sources of stress and find accurate ways of measuring staff wellbeing, we are on the right path to building up resilience in our workforces across age groups. This information can feed into a company wellbeing strategy which will attract not just younger but older, experienced talent, adding diversity to your organisation.
Ready to take the next step? Please get in touch to have a chat about how we can help. We’d love to hear from you!