24.02.11

Older Workers Better Able to Cope with Stress

Older workers are better at coping with emotional stress and burnout than their younger colleagues, according to research from Manchester Business School (MBS).   

The new MBS research, builds on previous studies, linking stress and burnout with reduced productivity and increased absenteeism, and found that this was particularly the case in customer service industries, where employees often face high levels of conflict and stress.

In this environment, older workers find their roles less emotionally draining and have less cynical attitudes towards customers than younger employees.

Manchester Business School’s Dr Sheena Johnson said:

“For the first time, our research focuses on the valuable emotional skills that older workers can bring to the work place. It showed that older employees tend to have specific strengths, such as the ability to control their emotions, which help to overcome difficult situations when dealing with customers.

“The attitudes of customer service employees who have become cynical about their role and the organisation they represent will inevitably spill over into their treatment of customers.”

The report also found that there is still widespread discrimination against older workers and employers still tend to focus on the issues of decreasing physical and cognitive abilities with age, rather than the positive skills they can bring to a business.

Dr Johnson added:

“For instance, encouraging older workers to act as mentors could significantly improve emotional burnout and stress with younger members of a team.”

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