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Coming soon: Working until you die

Jessica Morris, Special to

"Ageless workplaces" mean employees will be working until we die, and what's more, people will want to, according to a new report by trends consultancy The Future Laboratory.

An aging population, increased life expectancy and better health care mean that today's forty-somethings are gearing up to work another 30 years.

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The report, which was commissioned by financial protection insurers Unum, says that the biggest trend amongst British workers is an "ageless workplace" in which people can continue to work into old age.

"The rise of a workplace that is 'ageless' enables 'returnment' instead of retirement and promotes the idea that you can work forever," the report said.

However employees won't be forced to do this, they'll actually want to.

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"It's a way of maintaining social connections and doing something useful, and of making the financial transition from full-time work to part-time work into retirement easier," says Mark Beatson, chief economist at the CIPD, a professional body for human resources and people development.

However, workplaces will have to evolve to meet workers' needs. Healthy canteens, brain training, and even DNA-testing to better understand workers' health are some of the ways they will do this.

"In an aging society in which retirement is no longer the end goal to start re-living life, employers are expected to take better care of their employees," the report said.


Around 32 percent of British workers are exhausted by their attempts to maintain a work life balance, the report claims.

"Workers feel exhausted by juggling career, family, friends, social life, fitness, health and other commitments, and do not think they will want to work later in life," it says.

Higher stress levels and an increased likelihood to quit means that the failure to tackle this could cost U.K. businesses £44 billion ($70.7 billion).

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Smartphones, laptops and other gadgets allow employees to do their work anytime and anywhere.

According to the report, around 73 percent of British workers feel they're expected to be "always on" and available for work. So-called "overload creep" could cost U.K. companies around £101 billion.

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