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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Plans for new health-oriented ‘office of the future’ to address ageing society

Designs have been unveiled for a new office to help integrate an older workforce, as estimates predict nearly a quarter of the UK’s population will be 65 or over within 20 years.

Office addresses health fears ©Shutterstock
Office addresses health fears ©Shutterstock

Totaljobs research has found that 35% of people aged over 45 feel that employers’ provisions for people their age are ‘non existent’, and almost half believe that workplaces ‘naturally cater towards younger employees’.

With increasing pressure on the working-age population to support retirees, the new ‘office of the future’ will help delay retirement by offering features such as health alerts, flexible working areas and private medical rooms.

Totaljobs group sales director, John Salt, said: “Our research revealed some of the serious concerns facing employees and prospective employees with regards to getting older in the workplace and we believe that our office creation lays the path for a future geared towards this labour market shift.

"However, this office is not just for older workers – it's about creating an environment in which everyone can thrive, learn and be healthy together, regardless of age.

“For every negative connotation associated with older workers, there are benefits. Experience, confidence and knowledge naturally grow with age and our office is just as much about preserving and celebrating these qualities than managing decline.”

The research involved interviewing more than 2,000 working people over 45, with health issues (30%), being out of touch with technology (27%) and being unable to learn new things as quickly (24%), the top three work-related fears of the older workforce.

Totaljobs collaborated with an expert panel to combine knowledge of state-of-the-art technology, architectural practicality and academic integrity to design the new office so that it tackles the main fears of older employees – physical health, cognitive health and integration within an age-diverse workforce.

Ex Ground Force star and panel member, Tommy Walsh, said: “As I've got older, I've noticed a few aches and creaks I didn't use to have, but my ambition has never waned and I refuse to believe there will come a time when there is no need for the extra experience, confidence and savvy someone of my age could provide.

"The research also shows that 85% of our over-45s believe they are as adaptable to change as they have ever been, so we need to get rid of this cliché that you become a digital dinosaur after a certain age, or resistant to learning new skills.

“Employees of all ages should be able to share and learn with each other without fear and I hope some of the measures we've designed will go someway to achieving that."

Features of the new office design include:

In-house health centre – Providing 'on-site' healthcare ranging from GP health services to nutritionists and personal trainers
Mind spa – A space that can be sectioned off to manage cognitive thought and mindfulness – increasing productivity and performance
Health alert desk system (H.A.D.S) – An app built into a workspace computer that provides health-orientated alerts on when to take a break
Zeitgeist exchange training – A training area designed to promote skills exchange between workers of different ages
Intelligent kitchen – Kitchen/canteen providing meals personally tailored to various health goals and types of work
Tech confidential – A 'safe space' to ask tech-related questions in confidence, without fear of looking dated.

To find out more about the office designs click here