Impact of Flexible Work Arrangements on Key Challenges to Work Engagement Among Older Workers

Source: Joanne Allen, Fiona M Alpass, Ágnes Szabó, Christine V Stephens, Work, Aging and Retirement, June 21, 2021
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
As workforces age, organizations are challenged to provide human resource management policies and practices that are responsive to the needs of older workers. Flexible work arrangements (FWAs)—practices that allow workers to influence when, where, and how work is completed—have been promoted as enabling older workers to maintain work engagement by decreasing demands of the work role, providing the autonomy to balance work and nonwork commitments, and signalling the value of workers to employers. The current study aimed to examine whether FWAs were effective in alleviating key challenges to work among older workers by assessing the impact of FWAs on the associations of physical health, mental health, and negative age-related stereotypes about older workers, with work engagement. Data were obtained from 1,834 workers aged 55–82 (age M = 63.3, 54% female) from a general random sample of older adults. Greater mental health and lower negative stereotypes predicted higher work engagement. Greater physical and mental health conveyed an indirect impact on engagement via lower perception of negative stereotypes. Greater FWAs displayed a weak negative association with the perception of negative stereotypes about older workers and reduced the association of negative stereotypes with work engagement. Access to FWAs may have a minor role in alleviating key risks to work engagement associated with mental and social challenges for an aging workforce. Considerations for future investigations of FWAs and their impact on risks to engagement among older workers are discussed.