En español | Many older Americans have grown accustomed to working outside their company's office and 9-to-5 hours as a result of the pandemic, and 88 percent of those 55 and older now say that they want some degree of control over how, where and when they work.
In a new survey of 2,000 U.S. employees and executives, released by HR research firm Workplace Intelligence and shared-office provider WeWork, 45 percent of 55-and-older workers said they would be willing to give up at least one benefit or perk — such as cash bonuses or paid time off — for the freedom to choose their work environment.
But that doesn't mean older workers want to abandon the traditional office completely.
Instead, as pandemic restrictions ease, 55-plus workers prefer to split their time among several locations. On average, they envision spending about half of their time at the company building. The rest of their time would be evenly split between working from home and working in public environments outside the office, such as a shared working space or a coffee shop or public library.
Many older workers also want to cut back on the hours they spend in the traditional office on any particular day, with 31 percent saying that less than five hours is ideal.
For older workers, the most popular benefits of a hybrid work situation are better life balance, more control over their schedules and a less stressful work environment, each cited by 50 percent.
"Since older workers were more susceptible to being harmed by COVID-19, they learned to enjoy the time spent with their families, but missed the time in corporate offices and co-working spaces with their colleagues,” Dan Schawbel, Workplace Intelligence's managing partner, said via email. “Since they've been in the workforce longer, they understand that working in different spaces is the best of all worlds."
Patrick J. Kiger is a contributing writer for AARP. He has written for a wide variety of publications, including the Los Angeles Times Magazine, GQ, Mother Jones and websites of the Discovery Channel and National Geographic.