Old is Gold: Integrating Older Workers in CSCW

Abstract

The tradition of a worker who retires by age 65 is being replaced by a trend of longer periods of employment, leading people to believe that an aging workforce will be a major social transformation of this century. With the proliferation of collaborative tools in workplace settings, we posit that it is essential to address the unique characteristics of older workers when designing groupware. In this paper, we marshal literature from adult learning, training, and work to articulate the unique assets and competencies of older workers, notably: knowledge and experience, adeptness in social group dynamics, and finely tuned strategies for improving group performance and productivity grounded in prior experiences. Further, we argue that the CSCW community should leverage these opportunities to support the expanding older workforce with groupware. We describe a synthetic approach to study how we might best support older workers in workplace settings and outline design implications for CSCW.

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