The pandemic has brought countless changes to our lives, but one of the most enduring will likely be the way that we work. Gone are the days of the five-day 9-to-5 in the office. Thanks to technology, we can now work anywhere, anytime—and, over the past year, we have been. Now that businesses have seen that it can be done, we can expect many more flexible, hybrid or telework arrangements going forward.
But perhaps the most exciting news in the midst of this shift is that it appears older workers have adapted best to remote work during the pandemic.
According to a recent AARP survey, Baby Boomers represented the highest percentage (45%) of people who reported “no change” to their personal wellness while working remotely during pandemic, compared with 21% for Gen X, 20% for Millennials and 15% for Gen Z. Baby Boomers also felt overwhelmingly that external public health, political or global events have not impacted their productivity, with 77% claiming so, compared with just 38% to 43% of younger generations. A Nintex survey cited by Employee Benefit News had similar findings, reporting that 80% of older workers felt productive while working from home, compared with only half of younger employees.
What might be some of the reasons for senior workers’ success in this new virtual world? There are many possibilities. Perhaps older workers are benefiting from built-in companionship in the form of spouses or “pandemic pod” friends to help stave off feelings of isolation. “Pretirees” are likely free from the pressures associated with caring for or homeschooling young children. Senior workers have likely already built and have quick access to a professional network that can help them through this challenging time. Or it could simply be that those over age 50 have historically demonstrated a better ability to cope with various life circumstances and experience more daily positive emotions than younger generations—a phenomenon that the New York Times recently called a “happiness gap.”
Whatever the reasons behind it, the ability of senior workers to thrive in remote-work situations during the pandemic is a reason to rejoice. Not only are we capable candidates for remote work, but we are desirable, too: We are the generation best able to maintain our productivity and psychological well being in a virtual world (and in times of stress and duress), and therefore we are in a prime position to serve as leaders and mentors for the rest of the workforce.
This is something we’ve always believed in at WAHVE. We have the opportunity to show organizations that remote work is not just a nice-to-have, it’s practically a business imperative going forward—and we are the ideal candidates to help bring these businesses into the virtual future.