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Freedom Fatigue: How Can Businesses Retain Their 50+ Workforce?

Supporting your workforce includes managing the happiness and satisfaction of all ages, including those who have been on the staff for longer. But with the current “silver exodus”, there’s a worry that older workforce aren’t finding the same enjoyment in work as they used to. In fact, the unemployment rate of people aged 50 to 64 has increased in the last year.

As workforces age, with the retirement age now going up to 71 years old, knowing how to successfully retain ageing staff members is a must.

Gary Clark, Academy Director at ski course business: SIA Austria, says: “Working is now becoming about a better work-life balance and businesses that aren’t recognising this run a difficulty of losing experienced staff members who might do better breaking out on their own. That is why finding ways to offer them some excitement and a break in the mundane corporate working is necessary, not just for younger staff, but for your ageing workforce too.”


One way you can treat your workforce and make them come back feeling fresh for their role is by offering some time away. It might sound counterintuitive, but spending time away from your desk can give you a bit more motivation and productivity when it comes to work.

Older workforces have earned time off, so offering sabbaticals can be a great way to encourage older staff members to enjoy themselves away from work. Whether they’re undergoing a ski course in Japan or jet-setting to a more relaxing destination, giving them the opportunity and time to spend away from work is a must.

Gary says: “Enjoying something new that you wouldn’t have considered before can actually get you away from your desk and the worries of work so that you’re in a better place to come back to it. You don’t want your staff quitting so that they can travel, meaning you lose all their expertise; instead, offer them the time they desire as part of a long-term worker package so that they can get the best of both worlds.”

Freelance work

Gary continues: “Or if you’re looking for a more flexible arrangement, then freelance might be the best option for both employees and employers. You don’t want to risk losing their valuable insight and knowledge in your business, so giving them the ability to work freelance or remotely could be an option if they’re looking to move both professionally and personally.”

Fatigue at work can come from a lack of freedom. Whether it is spending time away from the desk, living somewhere new, or seeing new faces on a daily basis, the corporate 9 to 5 can become a bit too much after decades of working in the same role. Allowing your staff the freedom to explore their personal choices and take the work with them can help you keep your experienced staff without limiting them.


Autonomy is important for older workers, as well as younger ones. You don’t want to be offering all your career development opportunities to your younger staff members and ignoring the wants and needs of your older professionals. Allowing your ageing workforce to come up with their development plans and put these into action is essential for a healthy working culture.

Gary says: “Autonomy and development don’t need to always fall in line with traditional workplace training sessions. In fact, your workforce might benefit more from stepping out of their comfort zone now and again and developing transferable skills. By giving your employees of all ages the autonomy to learn and develop in their ways, you can retain a happier workforce.”

The increasing number of ageing workforce members quitting can be concerning for businesses that will lose the experience, knowledge and know-how of their accumulative years. However, there are plenty of ways your business can avoid losing these valuable team members. Increasing autonomy, opportunities for development, and even offering more flexible structures can ensure your workforce is in the position they want to be, no matter their age.