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Providing Workspace Tools to Address the Health of Aging Employees

By | Charlie Fletcher

Aging employees are a positive component of any business. If a company has a selection of staff in their later years, this is a good sign of a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Not to mention that it can mean the business is successfully acting in ways that boost long-term employee retention.

However, it’s vital to recognize that older workers face distinct challenges. Some of these are related to how their role in the company impacts and is impacted by their health. There may be greater physical health risks as workers get older, or their activities might be disrupted by cognitive decline.

Whatever the situation is, businesses have ethical and practical imperatives to support their workers. So, let’s look a little closer at providing workspace tools to address the health of aging employees.

Strain and Injury Reduction Tools

While aging needn’t be a barrier to employment, it’s important to recognize that there are certain workplace risks that can get worse as people get older. Age has been shown to make a difference to on-the-job injuries, both in terms of susceptibility to them and the time it takes to heal afterwards. There’s also a greater prevalence of experiencing a range of strains, both physical — with regard to eyes and muscles — and mental in nature. It’s important to offer workspace tools that help minimize the risks associated with strains and injuries.

Particularly in office environments, it can be wise for managers or human resources (HR) departments to provide workers with ergonomic equipment. This should include chairs with adjustable height and lumbar support to reduce posture-related strains. A wrist support can also be good for reducing repetitive strain injury (RSI) while typing, using a mouse, or writing.  

Any positions that require manual handling should already have a solid wellness program that supplies workers with resources to prevent injuries. However, if employees haven’t been offered these tools, some may find it helpful to request a lifting belt to support their lower backs. For businesses in which workers have to carry heavy loads across the premises, hand trucks and dollies can be useful for limiting the potential for strain and long-term damage.

Supportive Technology

The last several years have seen significant technological leaps as a result of the rise of the digital landscape. This isn’t just good for making daily activities more convenient or shopping online. It also means that there are some key technological tools that make employees’ workplace experiences more healthy as they age.

Some of the options here can include:

Assistive listening devices

Some workers may find it more difficult to hear as they age. This can be particularly concerning in fields where employees operate in noisy or busy environments. In these instances, it may be appropriate to provide or subsidize good-quality assistive listening devices. This might include radio frequency transmitters that allow messages to be sent directly to hearing aids without interference from ambient or background noise. For confidential communications, infra-red transmission devices can ensure messages can be sent to workers’ earpieces in an audible and secure manner.

Voice recognition software

In some cases, workers may be living with conditions related to aging that impact their ability to type easily, such as arthritis. To improve their comfort and productivity, alongside minimizing additional harm, it may be practical to provide voice recognition software. This enables workers to speak into a microphone to interact with computers and digital documents, rather than use a keyboard and mouse.

Safety and Wellness Training

Workspace tools that improve the health of aging employees aren’t just related to tech or equipment. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools any worker has for preventing injuries and illness. It is, therefore, important for businesses to ensure their aging employees receive adequate and relevant ongoing training that supports their well-being.

Whether workers are new or have been with the company for years, on-the-job training is vital for maintaining competence and safety in any role. The fact that it’s provided in the working environment also tends to mean this information is assimilated faster and understood within the specific context of a worker’s duties.

Trainers should make it a point of protocol to provide annual refresher training, with a focus on reviewing any new physical or psychological challenges workers face. They can then collaborate in providing information on methods to address these. This ensures workers have relevant educational tools they need to thrive as they age.

It’s also essential for businesses to provide aging employees with regular more generalized wellness education. This should be designed to give insights into how workers’ actions can improve their health and efficacy both within and outside of work. This could include information about nutrition, behavior that prevents burnout, and accessing exercise resources.


Employees and businesses should recognize that aging workers have a lot to offer a company. It is, therefore, vital to provide tools to support worker health. This should include equipment to prevent injuries, technology that aids access, and training to bolster safety. By making time for wellness assessments and discussions about changing needs, both employees and companies can enjoy long and fruitful working relationships.

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