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Sustainable Healthy Working Life for All Ages—Work Environment, Age Management and Employability

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Health, Well-Being and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 June 2022) | Viewed by 28507

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, 221 00 Lund, Sweden;Division of Public Health, Kristianstad University, SE-291 88 Kristianstad, Sweden
Interests: sustainable working life for all ages; public health, health promotion and prevention; work environment; work organisations; age management; age discrimination; employability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, 0608 Oslo, Norway
Interests: pension systems and pension policy; retirement behaviour; age and work; age management; health promotion and prevention; lifelong learning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of People and Society, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Box 88, S, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
Interests: health and safety; social sustainability in agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Health, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Interests: occupational health and safety; age and work; ergonomics and work design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere University, 33014 Tampere, Finland
Interests: occupational health; aging and work; occupational gerontology; strain at work; work ability and promotion of health and work ability; ergonomics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The proportion of elderly citizens is continuously increasing in most of the industrial world [1–3]. The current demographic trend is characterised by increased longevity and lower fertility rates and is leading to an increasingly ageing population. The retirement age in many countries is being postponed in order to adapt economic and budgetary implications to the new demographic distribution. Older people are encouraged to keep working and to participate in the labour force for as long as possible [1–3]. The demographic situation stresses the importance of factors that motivate older employees and self-employed to work and maintain their employability until an older age, as well as the importance of organisations and enterprises to care for their employees’ employability until an older age [4–7].

Against this backdrop, Sustainability is announcing a Special Issue dedicated to the topics of sustainable and healthy working life for all ages—work environment, age management and employability. This Special Issue will provide an outlet for research by researchers who contribute with theoretical and practical knowledge development in these domains.

We are interested in scientific analysis in the form of that generate original and innovative insights related to the issues of sustainable and healthy working life for all ages—work environment, age management and employability. We welcome analysis regarding the nine determinant areas for a healthy and sustainable working life for all ages identified in the swAge-model [4,5], i.e., regarding analysis of work life participation until an older age related to one or more of the following areas:

  • Self-rated health, diagnoses, functional diversity;
  • Physical work environment;
  • Mental work environment;
  • Work schedule, work pace, time for recuperation;
  • Personal finances, work ability, employability;
  • Personal social environment and work life balance;
  • Work social environment, discrimination, leadership and age management;
  • Motivation, stimulation and satisfaction with work tasks;
  • Knowledge, skills, competence.

The “Sustainable Healthy Working Life for All Ages—Work Environment, Age Management and Employability” Special Issue is jointly organized between “Sustainability” and “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health” journals. Authors in the Special Issue can submit their papers to “Sustainability” or “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health”.

We look forward to your contribution.

References:

  1. Pensions at a glance 2019. OECD and G20 indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2019. doi:10.1787/b6d3dcfc-en.
  2. World report on ageing and health. Geneva: World health organization; 2017. http://www.who.int/ageing/publications/world-report-2015/en/
  3. Health at a glance 2019: OECD indicators. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2019. doi:10.1787/4dd50c09-en.
  4. Nilsson K. Conceptualization of ageing in relation to factors of importance for extending working life – a review. Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2016; 44: 490–505.
  5. Nilsson K. A sustainable working life for all ages – The swAge-model. Applied Ergonomics 2020; 103082: 1-27. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003687018305313?dgcid=author
  6. Fleuren BP. de Grip A. Jansen NWH. Kant I. Zijlstra FRH. Unshrounding the Sphere from Clouds: Towards a Comprehensive Conceptual Framework for Sustainable Employability. 2020;12:6366. doi:10.33909/su12166366.
  7. Van der Klink JJL. Bültmann U. Burdorf A. Schaufeli WB. Zijlstra FRH. Abma FI. BRouwer S. van der Wilt GJ. Sustainable employability – definition, conceptualization, and implications: A perspective based on the capability approach. Scand J Work Environment Health. 2016;42(1):71-79.

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Nilsson
Dr. Tove Midtsundstad
Prof. Peter Lundqvist
Prof. Joanne Crawford
Prof. Clas-Håkan Nygård
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • self-rated health, diagnoses, functional diversity
  • physical work environment
  • mental work environment
  • work schedule, work pace, time for recuperation
  • personal finances
  • work ability
  • employability
  • personal social environment and work life balance
  • work social environment, discrimination, leadership and age management
  • motivation, stimulation and satisfaction with work tasks
  • knowledge, skills, competence

Related Special Issue

Published Papers (8 papers)

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19 pages, 298 KiB  
Article
Abuse and Wellbeing of Long-Term Care Workers in the COVID-19 Era: Evidence from the UK
by Eirini-Christina Saloniki, Agnes Turnpenny, Grace Collins, Catherine Marchand, Ann-Marie Towers and Shereen Hussein
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9620; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159620 - 4 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2894
Abstract
The UK long-term care workforce has endured difficult working conditions for many years. During the pandemic, the sector faced unprecedented challenges, which further exacerbated these conditions and brought concerns about workplace abuse and violence. Such experiences can vary by personal and work characteristics, [...] Read more.
The UK long-term care workforce has endured difficult working conditions for many years. During the pandemic, the sector faced unprecedented challenges, which further exacerbated these conditions and brought concerns about workplace abuse and violence. Such experiences can vary by personal and work characteristics, particularly affecting minority ethnic groups. They can subsequently impact workers’ wellbeing and the sector overall. Drawing on the first wave of a UK longitudinal workforce survey, this article examined the impact of COVID-19 on social care workers’ working conditions, general health and wellbeing, and intentions to leave the employer and sector altogether. The analysis is based on both quantitative and qualitative responses 1037 valid responses received between April and June 2021. The respondents were predominantly female, working in direct care roles and mainly serving older adults (including those with dementia). The findings highlighted worrying experiences of abuse in relation to COVID-19, which differed significantly by nationality, ethnicity and care settings. The analysis further showcased the negative impact of experienced abuse on work-life balance and intentions to leave the current employer or the care sector altogether. The findings emphasise the need for targeted measures that promote workers’ physical, emotional and financial wellbeing. Full article
13 pages, 1507 KiB  
Article
Indicators of Sustainable Employability among Older Finnish Postal Service Employees: A Longitudinal Study of Age and Time Effects
by Subas Neupane, Saila Kyrönlahti, Prakash K.C., Anna Siukola, Hanna Kosonen, Kirsi Lumme-Sandt, Pirjo Nikander and Clas-Håkan Nygård
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095729 - 9 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2104
Abstract
We first clarify the definition of sustainable employability, and then we study how the indicators of sustainable employability among older Finnish postal service employees have changed over time. Finally, we estimate the effect of age on these indicators in a two-year follow up. [...] Read more.
We first clarify the definition of sustainable employability, and then we study how the indicators of sustainable employability among older Finnish postal service employees have changed over time. Finally, we estimate the effect of age on these indicators in a two-year follow up. A questionnaire survey among the Finnish postal service employees was conducted in 2016, and a follow-up was conducted in 2018. We analyze data from 1262 subjects who replied to both the baseline and the follow-up surveys. Sustainable employability is defined as a multidimensional construct using nine indicators and covering three domains (health, well-being and employability) based on Fleuren and colleagues’ model. Measurement time (repeated measure) is used as a within-subjects factor, and age is used as a between-subjects factor. The estimated marginal means of the indicators of sustainable employability at the baseline and the follow-up by age in years are calculated. No significant change is found in eight indicators (work ability, time and resources, recovery after work, job satisfaction, motivation, perceived employment, enough training on the job and relevance of work) of sustainable employability after the two-year follow-up. We find a statistically significant effect of time on self-rated health (F = 6.56, p = 0.011). Six out of nine indicators (self-rated health, work ability, time and resources, recovery after work, job satisfaction, and perceived employment) have a statistically significant effect of age between subjects. Partial Eta Squared (ŋ2p) shows a very small difference in the indicators of sustainable employability during the follow-up, indicating that the employability of the workers was sustained throughout. We used the Fleuren model as the basis for our definition of sustainable employability. Although they are based on single items, these indicators of sustainable employability remain stable after the two-year follow-up. Significant effects of age between subjects are found for six out of nine indicators. The results suggest that age may be an important determinant of sustainable employability. Full article
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17 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Managers’ Attitudes to Different Action Proposals in the Direction to Extended Working Life: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Kerstin Nilsson and Emma Nilsson
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 2182; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14042182 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
In many countries, the retirement age is postponed due to the global demographic change, and a larger amount of older people need to participate in working life. However, how and what measures and action proposals that could extend and increase employees’ voluntary and [...] Read more.
In many countries, the retirement age is postponed due to the global demographic change, and a larger amount of older people need to participate in working life. However, how and what measures and action proposals that could extend and increase employees’ voluntary and sustainable participation in working life have not entirely been investigated. The employer is responsible for enabling employees’ access to measures that facilitate participation in the workplace, for enabling employability and a sustainable extended working life. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate Swedish managers’ attitude to action proposals that could increase employees’ participation in an extended working life. Logistic regression analysis was used to investigate associations between different univariate estimates and in data modelling. The nine determinate areas of the swAge model, for a sustainable working life and employability, was used as analysis model, i.e., self-rated health and diagnoses; physical work environment; mental work environment; work schedule, work pace and time for recuperation; financial incentives; personal social environment; social work environment; stimulation, motivation and self-crediting through work tasks; and competence, skills and knowledge development. The results stated decreased physical work demands to be the final measure in the multivariate modelling associated to whether the managers believe their employees ‘can work’ until age 65 and older, however, changing work tasks in the workplace when needed, rotation between different work tasks to decrease physical as well as mental workload and strain, and decreased mental work demands proved to be statistically significant in the univariate estimates. The strongest measure activity in the organisations, associated to managers believing their employees ‘want to work’ until age 65 and older in the multivariate modelling, was decreased work pace, however, increased time for recuperation between work shifts also proved to be statistically significant in the univariate estimate. The management’s perspectives on measures and action proposals associated to whether employees ‘can’ and ‘want’ to work will hopefully contribute to an increased understanding in society and the organisational process of creating a sustainable extended working life. Full article
11 pages, 257 KiB  
Article
Is an Intergenerational Program Effective in Increasing Social Capital among Participants? A Preliminary Study in Korea
by Junghyun Kim and Soondool Chung
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031796 - 4 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1536
Abstract
The rapid growth of the aging population and low economic growth have intensified generational conflicts, especially in the workplace. Social capital is one option that can solve generational conflicts by encouraging cooperation among colleagues. This study aims to explore the impact of the [...] Read more.
The rapid growth of the aging population and low economic growth have intensified generational conflicts, especially in the workplace. Social capital is one option that can solve generational conflicts by encouraging cooperation among colleagues. This study aims to explore the impact of the intergenerational program, Sedae Ieum Madang, on perceived social capital among participants in Korea. To measure the impact of the program, a one-group pretest/posttest design was applied, and a purposive sampling method was adopted to recruit participants. The final sample size was 53, including 30 older adults and 23 young adults. In items that measured participants’ level of trust in colleagues, the subindex of social capital was compared between before and after the program. Each item relates to peoples’ experience of social support in workplaces, as suggested in the swAge model. According to the measurement, peoples’ level of trust in their colleagues changed; only the older generation’s trust in their colleagues increased, while that of the younger generation did not. The results of this study show that the intergenerational program is effective in encouraging the older generation to trust their colleagues and fostering mutual support between younger and older generations, which is important in developing sustainable work environments. Full article
11 pages, 213 KiB  
Article
Consumption Structure in Urban and Rural Areas and Self-Rated Health of the Elderly: A Survey Based on Chinese General Social Survey
by Zhaojing Liu and Bin Li
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11530; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011530 - 19 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1636
Abstract
Health inequality is an aspect of social inequality, and has now become an important problem in the current society. This article uses the data from the Chinese General Social Survey (2017) (CGSS2017) and uses the Multinomial Logistic Models method to analyze the elderly [...] Read more.
Health inequality is an aspect of social inequality, and has now become an important problem in the current society. This article uses the data from the Chinese General Social Survey (2017) (CGSS2017) and uses the Multinomial Logistic Models method to analyze the elderly population (over 60 years old) across the country. The study found that the differences in the basic consumption of food and daily necessities among the elderly are relatively small; while consumer goods that reflect the differentiation of social classes such as clothing consumption and cultural consumption have a significant impact on the elderly. Travel consumption status also has a certain impact on the self-rated health choices of the elderly, but housing consumption has no effect on these choices. Thess results pave the way for investigating health from the perspective of socioeconomic status in academic circles. By using this consumption pattern analysis it is possible to analyze the health of the elderly population more effectively. In the future supply of consumer goods, it is possible to strengthen the consumption and supply of cultural tastes for the elderly, enhance the beauty and value of the lifestyle of the elderly, and increase the health of the elderly. At the same time, due to the significant impact of urban–rural differences in the health of the elderly, it is necessary to improve the living security level of the rural elderly, reduce the difference in public services between urban and rural elderly groups, and promote urban–rural integration. Full article
19 pages, 1373 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Interrelationship between COVID-19 Phobia, Work–Family Conflict, Family–Work Conflict, and Life Satisfaction among School Administrators for Advancing Sustainable Management
by Turgut Karakose, Ramazan Yirci and Stamatios Papadakis
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158654 - 3 Aug 2021
Cited by 103 | Viewed by 11066
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the relationships between the COVID-19 phobia experienced by school administrators and their work–family conflict, family–work conflict, and life satisfaction. This descriptive research, designed according to the relational survey model, was conducted with the participation of 356 school administrators. [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the relationships between the COVID-19 phobia experienced by school administrators and their work–family conflict, family–work conflict, and life satisfaction. This descriptive research, designed according to the relational survey model, was conducted with the participation of 356 school administrators. The study data were collected through online questionnaires, and then t-test, ANOVA, correlation analysis, and simple linear regression analysis were employed for the statistical analyses. The results revealed that female school administrators experienced greater levels of COVID-19 phobia than their male peers and that COVID-19 phobia is felt more intensely in the psychological and social sub-dimensions. However, female school administrators’ life satisfaction levels were significantly higher than those of male school administrators. In the current study, it was determined that school administrators in the younger age group experienced greater levels of COVID-19 phobia and family–work/work–family conflict than their peers from other age groups. The results of this study revealed a positive and moderate relationship between school administrators’ COVID-19 phobia and their levels of both work–family and family–work conflict. The findings of the study offer significant implications for policy makers in education, showing the importance of developing strategies that will reduce the effects of the pandemic for a more sustainable and efficient employee performance. Full article
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12 pages, 287 KiB  
Article
Associations between Work Resources and Work Ability among Forestry Professionals
by Hannu Pursio, Anna Siukola, Minna Savinainen, Hanna Kosonen, Heini Huhtala and Clas-Håkan Nygård
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4822; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094822 - 25 Apr 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1694
Abstract
Globalization and structural changes in forestry have changed the content and operating practices of timber harvesting. Furthermore, digitization and new forms of work organization have changed work characteristics, requirements and resources. The importance of knowledge and competence, and the management of new technology, [...] Read more.
Globalization and structural changes in forestry have changed the content and operating practices of timber harvesting. Furthermore, digitization and new forms of work organization have changed work characteristics, requirements and resources. The importance of knowledge and competence, and the management of new technology, are emphasized more. The purpose of this study was to find out how work resource factors are related to the work ability of forest machine entrepreneurs and drivers. The research material was collected in 2018 through an online survey involving 322 professionals in the timber harvesting industry, 87 forest machine entrepreneurs and 235 forest machine drivers. The Mann-Whitney U-test and logistic regression analysis have been used for statistical analysis. Effective work organization and social support from co-workers, as well as the perceived meaningfulness of one’s work, were resources that increased the likelihood of good work ability. Based on our results, good management may enhance work resources, and by developing work it is possible to support employee ability amid the pressures of change inherent to a competitive commercial environment and new forms of work. Full article

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36 pages, 781 KiB  
Systematic Review
Nurses’ Work Environment during the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Person-Centred Practice—A Systematic Review
by Cicilia Nagel, Albert Westergren, Sophie Schön Persson, Petra Nilsson Lindström, Åsa Bringsén and Kerstin Nilsson
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 5785; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14105785 - 10 May 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4103
Abstract
The work environment and especially the psychosocial work environment influence the mental and physical well-being of employees. The aim of this study was to identify and analyse the state of knowledge regarding nurses’ work situation, health, and person-centred work during the COVID-19 pandemic [...] Read more.
The work environment and especially the psychosocial work environment influence the mental and physical well-being of employees. The aim of this study was to identify and analyse the state of knowledge regarding nurses’ work situation, health, and person-centred work during the COVID-19 pandemic through a systematic review. Methods: Systematic Review, nine included articles. The theoretical swAge model was used as the framework in a deductive content analysis. Results: The result was presented in the nine determinate areas from the swAge model and showed that all nine determinate areas of the swAge model were of importance to both the nurses’ sustainable work situation during the COVID-19 pandemic and to person-centred care. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative effect on nurses’ health, both physically but especially psychologically, with high levels of depression, anxiety, and burnout. Nurses experienced a lack of control and support from organizations. They had to work with limited resources and sometimes care for patients beyond their expertise. Conclusion: There is a further need for more studies that address person-centredness from an organisational perspective with the intention to develop strategies and measure activities on how to make the nurses’ work situation more sustainable, and to increase their ability to give more person-centred care. Full article
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