The Work, Well-being and Wealth – Active Ageing at Work conference was organized by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, in co-operation with several organizations, such as PEROSH, on 26-28 August, in Helsinki, Finland.
The conference was attended by 200 scientists and experts and proved to be a good mixture of the most recent evidence-based scientific knowledge on the possibilities to increase work participation through improvements in well-being, and discussions on reasonable strategies to handle the potential and challenges of demographic change. The conference programme consisted of 30 invited papers, 71 other oral presentations and 56 posters. The main themes of the invited papers were psychosocial factors supporting participation in work life, disability prevention and reintegration, the integration of young people into work life, working in old age, the management of competencies for more sustainable work, and economic appraisals of active ageing at work.
The topics were introduced by three plenary lectures.
Professor Mika Kivimäki (FIOH and University College, London) underlined that a better understanding of ageing and the need to modify psychosocial work demands is crucial for the extending of work careers. “The normal age-related changes in functional capacity and resources are poorly taken into account in today’s working careers. For example, based on the Finnish Public Sector study, better opportunities to influence the total length of a working day; starting and ending times, as well as breaks during the working day would reduce the risk of disability pension due to musculoskeletal disorders by 37% and early retirement due to psychiatric disorders by 19%”.
Professor Hans-Martin Hasselhorn (BAuA) emphasized that “researchers and decision-makers should not focus on health only. The final decision to leave employment is due to work ability and motivation to work”. Dr. Emile Tompa (Institute of Work and Health, Canada) stressed that “understanding the economic implications of ageing and well-being programmes is critical for evidence-informed decision-making – researchers need to consider the costs and consequences for all stakeholders”.
At the end of the conference, the representatives of the different organizers participated in an excellent concluding session on the best strategies for increasing the work participation of both young and ageing workers.
Contact person: Professor Mikko Härmä (FIOH): Mikko.Harma@ttl.fi
Conference abstracts and a summary of the concluding session available soon on the conference website
The PEROSH tree, together with the PEROSH wellbeing group’s other deliverables was also presented at FIOH’s ‘Work, Wellbeing and Wealth’ conference as illustration of the merits of forum working. The last PEROSH Wellbeing Group meeting was held at CIOP, Warsaw served as a review and consolidation of the group’s activities. Further refinements for developing a final set Physical Exercise Standards were identified. Future activities for progressing the groups activities were also prioritised, and included identification of up-to-date wellbeing case studies that can map onto the Wellbeing Tree, development of a potential line manager tool, or specifying the contribution employers can make to reducing health inequalities. The next meeting is due to be held at HSL in December 2013.
Contact: Project leader: Jennifer Lunt (HSL), firstname.lastname@example.org