The Covid-19 pandemic has shown very little discrimination. It has managed to exert its effect on practically every human being on the planet. Hardly anyone can claim the pandemic has made no impact on their life.
However, these effects have not been the same for everyone, and some have had it worse than others. Namely, older workers across the globe have had to struggle more. Their prospects and outcomes are significantly worse than those of younger, millennial workers.
When the pandemic initially hit, most businesses were forced into adopting a work-from-home mode of operation. This has, for starters, caused plenty of stress and strife for those companies who have never before embraced remote work. It has also been especially challenging for older workers.
Employees who are used to working from an office their entire career typically had a hard time adjusting to working from home. After all, these people have established routines several decades strong, including morning habits, commute routes, and a productivity setup in the office.
Some older workers also had little experience with some of the modern tech that was required to operate from home. For example, Zoom is a novelty that many older workers had to get used to. Slow internet speeds and personal computers that are inadequate for work were another issue for many individuals who didn’t grow up in the digital era.
All of this has led to poorer performance among older workers. Naturally, many were not able to adapt as quickly to the new demands of their jobs. These difficulties additionally increased stress about job security, and many older workers found themselves wondering what the future holds.
Older workers’ health and safety have also been more significantly impacted by the pandemic. While younger immune systems were naturally expected to cope better, older adults have lived in heightened fear ever since the pandemic first started. After all, the older population tends to suffer from chronic illnesses, so contracting the coronavirus could lead to severe complications.
All this has made older workers more fearful about leaving their homes and going back to work. Ironically, resuming the habits and routines they’ve previously depended on now became difficult. The lack of social contact that has been imposed on them has also led to additional mental and emotional strain. And that, in turn, impacted every aspect of their lives, including job performance.
As we begin to return to the office, it is incredibly important to ensure that older workers are protected and that they feel safe at all times. While we often lament over the impacts the pandemic has had on the young, who were forced to abandon their social lives, we rarely consider the shock it has been to the older generations. It is the latter who are in more immediate danger and who are less tech-savvy and able to cope.
Those over fifty years of age have also reported working fewer hours than before. The same age group has made up a third of the total number of those furloughed during the pandemic. Furthermore, a third of these employees believe they will lose their job once the furlough is over.
A lot of over-50s have also been forced to change their retirement plans. Many have to postpone their retirement as a result of the pandemic, as they will not yet manage to hit the financial goals they’ve set.
Older workers are less likely to be able to bounce back after being made redundant as a consequence of the pandemic, which puts this group at increased risk of future unemployment, further health complications, and additional stress and strain.
Needless to say, the 50+ age group will have to await the further rollout of vaccination. Hopefully, the recovery schemes being put into place will protect their jobs or their livelihoods in case of unemployment.
Older generations have suffered greatly due to the pandemic, yet they are much less vocal about their hardship than millennials. This resilience and strength will surely help the over-50 age group cope and thrive, no matter what the pandemic has in store for us yet.