Top ways to use digital healthcare to enable older workers to manage their wellbeing

The age range of the UK workforce has never been so diverse. Over the past 30 years, the percentage of UK workers over the age of 50 has grown from 55% to 69%, and the employment rate of over 65s has doubled in that time too, according to the Department for Work and Pensions 2015 statistics.

Top ways to use digital healthcare to enable older workers to manage their wellbeing

With this multi-generational spread comes the need for organisations to accommodate the differing priorities of each age group. Depending on life and career stages, a one-size-fits-all approach to wellbeing isn’t viable. Employers must adapt benefit offerings, training and online solutions to ensure the financial, physical and mental wellbeing of the entire workforce is supported.

Specific training and support

By using digital care programmes, HR teams can deliver a more personalised approach, wherever employees are based. But it’s important not to alienate those in the workforce who are less tech-savvy, and that all segments of the workforce feel supported as we advance towards a fully digital HR landscape.

Due to the recent pandemic many organisations have implemented indefinite working from home measures, effectively fast-tracking this digitisation shift. HR teams need to provide extra training and support to increase engagement and lower stress levels amongst the older workforce when it comes to managing their specific financial needs.

The reduction in GP services has particularly impacted older members of the workforce. Hospitals and local practices have been under monumental pressure and seeking medical advice for an ongoing or new illness has been challenging.

A Leicester University study, which examined more than 15,000 people in England over 10 years, found an increasing trend in the over 50s developing more than one chronic illness. This has put pressure on the healthcare system and employers to help manage conditions, as well as support employees to continue being an active member of the workforce.

Empowering older workers

It is important to make sure that employees can access and personalise their benefits offerings from anywhere so that they can tailor them to their individual needs. For example, offering ‘wellness pots’, where employees have an allowance to spend on any activity that improves their overall wellness, is a great option to give employees more freedom and flexibility.

Another way organisations can put the power back into the hands of its employees when it comes to healthcare is by offering digital and preventative alternatives such as Telehealth – healthcare delivered via telephone, virtual technology or a combination of the two. Allowing older employees to enter data on their vital signs means they can have their ongoing health monitored and significant alerts addressed at home, with reduced wait times. Virtual GP consultations can provide personalised face-to-face care as a transition to a new digital healthcare landscape.

The digital shift

As a result of this move to more remote working, benefits aimed at improving employees’ day-to-day experiences and promoting a positive work culture have moved online. With virtual yoga classes and gym sessions serving younger employees in place of gym memberships, wellbeing programmes to suit older members of the workforce need to be made available.

Some organisations have found ways to encourage a culture of healthy ageing by changing the image of fitness centres so that older workers feel welcomed, and this should also apply to online offerings. Whether this is made up of existing schemes adapted for an older audience, or new ways to engage with alternatives, it is important for rewards and benefits to remain accessible to all.

With the right enablement, training and support, meeting the needs of all generations digitally will help benefits professionals arm their workforce with the tools they need to manage their wellbeing and thrive.

This article is provided by Thomsons Online Benefits.

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