Stay at work - received and desired work adjustment measures in older workers with poor health in Germany
Working with poor health has become an everyday way of life for many older workers in Germany, with more and more of them working despite health restrictions. Work adjustments are expected to maintain work ability, health and in perspective prolong working lives. In Germany, little is known about the frequency, type and effectiveness of such work adjustment measures.
The analysis was based on data from the third wave (2018) of the representative German lidA (leben in der Arbeit; www.lida-studie.de) interview study, which includes a specific module on measures at work aiming to maintain work ability and health. Older workers with poor self-reported health, working full-time, part-time or in marginal employment were studied (n = 464).
Of the participants 226 (49%) had received at least one work adjustment measure within the previous 12 months. Talks (31%), changes in the workplace (17%) and changes in the work tasks (15%) were the most frequent. Almost 60% of all the employees who received work adjustments rated them as having been helpful. Work adjustment measures received differed from what the participants wished to receive with respect to type, ranking and frequency. The most frequently desired measures were changes in work tasks (40%), followed by changes in the workplace (38%) and changes in working times (38%).
The findings indicate that nowadays employees with poor health receive workplace adjustment measures to a relevant extent in Germany. Nevertheless, the results indicate a discrepancy between the work adjustments received and the work adjustments desired. This suggests an unused intervention potential on the side of human resource management. In longitudinal studies the use and effectiveness of work adjustment measures should be studied in detail.