WOW gets ready to launch Older Workers’ Toolkit
Published: 2 May 2018
IHW's "Wellbeing of Older Workers" group held its second webinar on 21 June 2021, where we got to see a sneak preview of the forthcoming Older Workers’ Toolkit and heard excellent talks on age equality, retirement, menopause and health at work
IHW's WOW (Wellbeing of Older Workers) group was established in 2018 by Nicola McMeekin and Janet Bouttell in IHW. WOW is an Athena Swan group which aims to support and raise awareness of older (50+) workers – who comprise 30% of IHW staff – and inter-generational wellbeing.
WOW held its second webinar on 21 June 2021, where we got to see a sneak preview of the forthcoming Older Workers’ Toolkit and heard excellent talks on age equality, retirement, menopause and health at work.
Professor Dame Muffy Calder, UofG age equality champion, kicked off the event with a video highlighting the key issues of flexible working, changing roles, and pensions. There is great interest at the university level in developing supportive policies for all, and staff are welcome to contribute their ideas via the WOW group or directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next we heard from Dr Sheena Blair (former Occupational Therapy Programme Director at Glasgow Caledonian University) on the promise and pitfalls of retirement. The importance of identity continuity and life transitions was highlighted, together with the ‘centrality of doing’, rooted in what we know from occupational science regarding meaningful and purposeful activity.
Key findings from the Wellcome ISSF-funded menopause project were shared by researcher Abby Fraser, and these will inform the menopause in the workplace policy currently being developed by the UofG Equality and Diversity Unit. This important project revealed key concerns around space (e.g. workplace ventilation; toilet facilities), responsibilities (e.g. our own and others’ perceptions; cognitive challenges), time (e.g. sick leave and sabbaticals; scheduled breaks in meetings/events), and people (e.g. positive peer relationships; building understanding across all ages and genders).
Professor Ewan Macdonald (Public Health) provided a timely reminder of the societal shifts that mean that the working population is now an ageing population. Almost half of the working population have 1-2 chronic health conditions. Helpful aspects in the workplace include facilitating flexible or part-time hours and having greater support for health at work, especially mental health.
Dr Rebecca Robinson (WOW project coordinator) rounded off the event by showcasing the online WOW toolkit which includes information and signposting to IHW/UofG policies and other resources on support for older workers. The toolkit content is organised thematically: career progression (tailored by job family); line manager awareness; caring; pensions and retirement; and health and wellbeing. Beautifully illustrated by artist Yixuan Wang, the toolkit is sure to be a hugely valuable resource in IHW and beyond. Watch this space for further information on the launch date.
IHW Athena SWAN champion
First published: 2 May 2018