“Retirement is often thought of as an all-or-nothing prospect. However, the reality is that many older workers would benefit tremendously from a phased retirement.”
Let’s face it, working at 65 presents certain challenges that working in your 20s or 30s does not. For many, it becomes physically harder to get up and going, while other seniors find the mental challenges of a demanding job a little more than they can handle. A phased retirement offers the best of both worlds to workers and their employers, says the Missoulian in the article “Why Companies Should Support Phased Retirements.” Employees get to keep working and earning income, while taking on less rigorous work, whether physical or mental.
So far, American companies have been slow to adopt this method. Only 20% of firms currently offer this type of formal arrangement, according to data from Transamerica. The choice is often to stay full time or retire. Savvy companies, however, understand why phased retirement works well for the companies and all their employees.
Today, more Americans are choosing to work longer than in the past, for the social and mental benefits of continuing to have an active role in the workplace. Going to an office and working with team members, is much more appealing than sitting at home. For those who have not managed to save enough for retirement, working is a necessity and not a choice.
The problem is, as much as we may hate to admit it, age does take a toll on our bodies and for some, our minds. We can’t necessarily manage the rigorous schedules that a high-pressure job requires. The risk of becoming less productive or presenting a danger to us or our co-workers, in certain settings, is real.
However, older workers have a tremendous value in the workplace. Seasoned professionals have knowledge and expertise that younger employees don’t have and can offer good guidance during periods of both prosperity and downturns. Established relationships and trust with suppliers and clients can help businesses with a needed edge over competitors. There’s also a loyalty factor: unlike younger workers, who tend to move about a lot in their careers, an older worker is more likely to stay put.
There are, therefore, a great many benefits to encouraging companies to retain their older workers by giving them the ability to ease into retirement, rather than showing them the door. This makes for an easier transition, leaving time for knowledge transfer and the training of new hires.
There’s also the matter of goodwill. Employees may agree to stay on as consultants when needed, giving companies access to their knowledge with more flexibility for both workers and employees.
Supporting phased retirements can help companies to benefit from the experience of seasoned workers. It’s a win for everyone, and one that we hope to see grow in the coming years.
Reference: Missoulian (Dec. 21, 2018) “Why Companies Should Support Phased Retirements”