The employability of older workers as teleworkers: An appraisal of issues and an empirical study
The aging of the population and, concomitantly, of the workforce has a number of important implications for governments, businesses, and workers. In this article, we examine the prospects for the employability of older workers as home-based teleworkers. This alternative work could accommodate many of the needs and preferences of older workers and at the same time benefit organizations. However, before telework can be considered a viable work option for many older workers there are a number of issues to consider, including the ability of older workers to adapt to the technological demands that are typically associated with telework jobs and managerial attitudes about older workers and about telework. Through an integrated examination of these and other issues, our goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of the challenges associated with employing older workers as teleworkers. We also present findings from a questionnaire study that assessed managers' perceptions of worker attributes desirable for telework and how older workers compare to younger workers on these attributes. The sample included 314 managers with varying degrees of managerial experience from a large variety of companies in the United States. The results presented a mixed picture with respect to the employability of older workers as teleworkers, and strongly suggested that less experienced managers would be more resistant to hiring older people as teleworkers. We conclude with a number of recommendations for improving the prospects for employment of older workers for this type of work arrangement.