Purpose – Drawing on the recent work of Sennett and others who considered the position of older workers in dynamic economies subject to rapid change, this paper aims to examine the perceived fit between employees of different ages and their employing organizations in four Australian workplaces. Design/methodology/approach – Analysis of qualitative data, collected among workers and managers in four Australian organizations, was performed. Findings – Results suggests that potentiality tended to be prized as an asset over corporate memory. While managers were frequently paternalistic towards their older employees, ageing human capital was often devalued as managers tried to balance operational budgets and organizations sought to remain responsive to changing market demands. Originality/value – The paper discusses the implications for the prolongation of working lives.
BACKGROUND: Older workers are less physically active and have a higher rate and cost of injury than younger workers and so have reduced work-ability. Concurrently, sedentary behaviour in the workplace, in transport and in the home is increasing and has harmful health effects. Walking is a familiar, convenient, and free form of health-enhancing physical activity that can be integrated into working life and sustained into older age however workplace walking programs targeted at older workers have not been evaluated. PURPOSE: We designed a randomised-controlled trial to evaluate the impact of a phased individually-tailored 10-week walking program on work-day steps, health status and work-ability of employees at an Australian university with an ageing sedentary workforce. METHODS: A convenience sample of 154 academic and administrative employees aged 45-70 years will be recruited and randomly allocated to either an experimental (walking) group or control (maintain usual activity) group. Participants will be provided with a pedometer and complete measures for step count, % body fat, waist circumference, blood pressure, self-reported physical activity, psychological wellbeing and work-ability, at baseline and end-intervention. 'Walkers' will select approaches tailored to their individual preference, psychological characteristics or life circumstances. Two distinct intervention phases will target adoption (weeks 2-5) and adherence (weeks 7-12) using 'Stages of Behaviour Change' principles. An ANOVA will test for effect of treatment on outcome with the baseline value entered as a covariate. DISCUSSION: This study will test whether tailoring worksite walking is an effective means of promoting health-enhancing physical activity in ageing sedentary workers.