Mobile-enabled workforce participation

As seniors approach retirement their preferences over work-life balance change, says Everald Compton, Chairman of the Per Capita Longevity Forum, which pursues innovative solutions to improve the lives of older Australians.

Mr Compton is one of a number of case studies in Deloitte Access Economics’ new report, Mobile Nation: Driving workforce participation and productivity, that was released yesterday in Canberra. It was commissioned by AMTA.

“Seniors want to spend fewer hours in the office. They want work arrangements that are more flexible such as working from home. Spending more time with friends and family or going travelling is a priority,” he said.

launch participants

L-R:  Chris Althaus (AMTA, CEO); Everald Compton, Chairman of the Longevity Forum; Alli Baker, Director, Workible

For those who prefer to spend less time in the office mobile technologies have enabled individuals to work from anywhere. Travelling retirees, sometimes called ‘grey nomads’, can use roaming technology to continue undertaking some work while travelling around.

However, there can be barriers to seniors making these lifestyle decisions. Mr Compton said: “Employer attitudes can work against seniors – some employers believe that older people are far less productive and won’t hire seniors as a result.”

However, some employers acknowledge the benefits of producing more flexible working arrangements. “Hiring seniors and allowing them to telework allows companies to benefit from their experience and knowledge while producing cost savings, such as reduced desk and office space requirements,” he said.

Mobile technologies can also help seniors complete everyday tasks such as shopping, staying engaged with the community and remembering to take medicines. The emergence of telehealth has allowed some treatment to be done online. For example, taking regular blood pressure, pulse and blood glucose levels, renewing prescriptions, and interacting with medical staff in real time regardless of location.

Future developments in mobile technology could further improve outcomes for older Australians and it is crucial for them to learn how to use these new technologies.

A service that is proving very popular with younger people is Workible ,which matches job applicants based on availability, skills and preferences through mobiles.

“In the labour force, people today have an expectation that you know something about them. Rather than being inundated with irrelevant offers, they want to cut down the noise and be paired with suitable jobs or candidates fast,” says Alli Baker, director of Workible.

Workible allows companies and jobseekers to advertise their ideal working arrangements based on their availability, skills, location and preferences. “Because we know what both sides want we can connect people based on suitability using our matching algorithms,” says Ms Baker.

This matching service can help reduce the time and cost associated with the searching process for the right job or candidate.

“We started off with a desktop-only business model, however, after a trip to Silicon Valley we realised that not only was mobile the future, but it also allowed us to deliver results instantly, which was more closely aligned to our value proposition. Since we introduced the mobile platform, we have seen our business shift to over one third mobile use in a matter of years, “ says Ms Baker.