'Unretirement' is on the rise as older workers return to work

‘Unretirement’ is on the rise as older workers return to work, but how can we all plan ahead for our retirement?

And how can employers help older employees?

The current UK retirement age in the UK is 66, although this will skyrocket with state pension age set to reach 67 by 2028 – and even further beyond, according to Age UK.

It’s scary to think that a lot of us will be working well into our late 60s and maybe even into our early or mid 70s.

But some older people are already doing this. It’s called ‘unretirement’.

New research from Lottie has found a surge of older workers returning to work after retirement.

With a huge 200% increase in searches on Google for ‘returning to work after retirement’ over the last 12 months, older people are increasingly deciding to unretire – and have been doing so over the past year.

This new phenomenon is partly down to the the cost of living crisis, but is also due to a booming job market and a desire to keep busy in later life.

Nick Jones, head of retirement living at Lottie, has shared his thoughts on why more older workers are returning to employment, exclusively with Metro.co.uk.

He tells us that because inflation is on rise as well as bills for council tax and utilities across the UK getting higher and more costly, some people are finding it tempting to get back into employment – despite them already being retired.

Nick adds: ‘On the other hand, sometimes the reasons for returning to work from retirement can be positive.

‘People are living longer, and after the coronavirus pandemic, many older workers unretire because of the many health and wellbeing benefits.

‘From workplace outings to staying connected, work can boost your socialisation and keep you staying connected, which is hugely important in later life.’

So, what does the future of retirement look like? Nick gives an exclusive insight of what we should all be thinking about prior to when our time comes…

How to plan ahead for retirement – regardless of your age

Plan, plan, plan

Over the last 12 months, online searches for ‘retirement planning’ on Google have increased by 85% – so if you haven’t already started to think about your retirement, maybe you should.

‘Not only are we seeing people working longer, but we’re experiencing more older workers plan for their retirement years,’ says Nick.

‘Taking the time to plan will reduce any stress and uncertainty during retirement – and even in the years leading up to it.’

Consider ‘flexi-retirement’

When you’ve been in work for the majority of your life, stopping work all of a sudden can be a total shock to the system.

To soften the blow and make things a little easier, reducing your working hours gradually might be a good way to ease yourself into retirement when the time comes.

Nick adds that this allows you to increase your savings while enjoying the benefits of working, and easing yourself into retirement at your own pace.

Focus on health and wellbeing

Kickstarted by the pandemic, more and more of us have been focusing on our health and wellbeing.

And by doing so now, we can prolong our lives and ensure we’ll be active in later life.

‘It’s never too late to strengthen your health so you can enjoy more of your passions and post-career purpose,’ affirms Nick.

He recommends considering retirement villages when the time comes, adding that many purpose-built retirement villages and communities now have a focus on offering amenities that are aimed to improve your health and wellbeing after retirement.

How employers can look after those who are ‘unretired’

Nick says that there is one way businesses can get ahead of their competitors.

And that’s to look after their older staff.

He says that this can be done by the employer creating an age-friendly workplace where people of all ages feel supported, valued, and fulfilled. 

Extending working lives: Four practical ways to support older workers in employment

Offer support for the future

‘More people across the UK have recently turned to Google for retirement planning advice, which shows a need for greater awareness in the workplace.

‘Businesses can make this transition from work to retirement easier by providing practical, emotional, and financial support for anyone approaching retirement,’ explains Nick.

‘For instance, your organisation should set up regular catchups for anyone considering retiring to identify their goals and share useful resources about the financial side of retirement planning.’

Provide training for all employees

Nick says that experienced employees are ‘eager’ to attend training sessions to keep their skills sharp.

‘The level of job satisfaction felt by any employee will directly impact their motivation, productivity, and outlook.

‘Offering the right training options for all employees can improve morale across the whole business.

‘No matter what sector your business is in, things are changing and evolving at their fastest-ever pace, too. Offering on-going training will improve all your employees’ skills and ensure they remain up to date with the latest industry changes.’

Consider flexible working hours

Like mentioned earlier, being flexible is key for both the older employee and their employer.

‘Previous research has found nearly four fifths of workers over 50 years of age desire flexible working hours in their job.

‘Flexible working has become the new norm for many of us, with people across the UK appreciating the new work life balance that it can provide.

‘It’s a positive policy that benefits all employees, in particular older workers.

‘For instance, you could offer older workers the option to lower their hours or work from home more days per week as they approach their retirement.’

Prioritise health and wellbeing

‘Older employees face a unique set of challenges in the workplace that put them at risk of mental health issues,’ explains Nick.

He recommends that employers, should consider the wellbeing of all their employees to ensure they are creating an environment where everyone can feel at ease.

‘For instance, raise awareness any mental health resources your business offers – particularly for those approaching retirement.’

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