Senior Workers: Let’s Get Digital

Oct 8, 2020

I recently came across a SHRM article about how senior workers — those aged 65 and up — have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Citing research from the Economic Policy Institute, the article showed that a whopping 16.6% of older employees have lost or quit their jobs between February and May 2020. And 55- to 64-year-olds didn’t fare much better: 10.5% became unemployed during that timeframe. The major culprits are the increased health risk from the virus for seniors and the fact that many older workers are employed in onsite-only jobs.

We at WAHVE have always recognized and believed in the power of technology to provide meaningful work experiences for “pretirees”—those senior professionals who have more to give and aren’t ready to fully retire. Now more than ever, digital capabilities and flexible work arrangements are crucial to support and sustain these highly experienced, qualified and valuable individuals.

But organizations can’t expect to attract and retain senior employees by simply telling them they can work from home. There needs to be a robust remote-work structure in place, with not only top-notch virtual tools but also the support and training needed to use them. And seniors may need to spend some time brushing up on their tech skills so they can hit the ground running when opportunity strikes.

To that end, Forbes put together a list of the most important digital skills that remote workers need to have going forward, including:

  • File-sharing platforms: Understanding how to use apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and shared drives so colleagues can digitally share files. 
  • Videoconferencing apps:  Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, WebEx, etc.
  • Enterprise communications tools: Instead of email, many organizations are turning to Slack, Microsoft Teams and other instant-messaging services for both public and private messages. All messages are saved within the tool so that they are universally searchable, too.
  • Collaboration apps: Asana, Basecamp, Trello and Monday are a few. These apps make projects easily visible to all stakeholders and help keep track of deadlines, files and project progress.

With in-person technology training a challenging or outright impossible concept right now, seniors can turn to free online courses, employer-sponsored virtual trainings, and even friends and family members for one-on-one instruction.

The most important thing is that our valuable pretirees have access to and support for remote work during this unprecedented time. Have you tried any helpful resources for upgrading your tech skills recently? Please share!


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