November 23, 2018

The Roundup: Boomers delaying retirement, blocking bad news, and stats on working over Thanksgiving

In this week's Roundup, why Boomers are delaying retirement, and how to keep negative news at bay. Plus, the percentage of employers planning a four-day Thanksgiving weekend for employees.

Boomers aren’t following their retirement plans

The Wall Street Journal recently featured a story about why Boomers are delaying retirement. Boomers have been mapping their future plans, in particularly their retirement plans, only to see them fall by the wayside due to caregiving duties.

They’re “feeling the squeeze” from both sides, the WSJ reports. That is, Boomers are acting as caregivers for their adult children who may have moved back home, and their aging parents. So, they can’t afford to quit working.

The WSJ notes that this is one reason why “Americans are entering their retirement years as unprepared financially as any generation in years.”

It’s been previously reported that nearly one-third of Boomers had no money saved in retirement plans – and amongst those with retirement savings, they didn’t have enough to carry them through a 30-year retirement. It was also reported that this generation carries more debt than the generation before them.

The article highlights the reality for many families, and the financial and emotional cost to caregiving.

What does this mean for employers? If Boomers are working longer, there’s an opportunity for employers to capitalize on their knowledge and experience by taking steps to help them work longer, for example, with phased retirement or flexible work hours. Training and upskilling, and re-examining leave policies to be more expansive, are also ways employers can support their Boomer generation workers.

How to stop paying attention to bad news

If you find that you’re in a bad mood when you get to work, try making changes to your news consumption cycle. Jory Mackay of productivity app RescueTime writes in Fast Company that our brains are wired to pay more attention to bad news. It’s what psychologists call the “negativity bias,” Mackay writes, and it’s getting in the way of our well-being and productivity.

Apparently, three minutes of negative news in the morning can ruin your mood for the rest of the day (according to this study). And, news junkies can be “miscalibrated and irrational” because of a cognitive bias in which people make judgements about the likelihood of an event based on how easily an example comes to mind. 

To combat exposure to so much negative news, experts recommend “slowing down our personal newscycle. Smartphones, push notifications, and news apps keep breaking news (which is usually negative) at our fingertips. Or worse, send it directly to us without our consent. To break this cycle, Hooked author and behavioral designer Nir Eyal suggests we read printed newspapers rather than online news.”

Research finds that once people latch on to factually inaccurate ideas, it’s hard to break from them. With the proliferation of “fake news,” consider the source with a healthy dose of skepticism versus blind faith.

Employer Thanksgiving practices

According to a Bloomberg Law survey of 367 companies, 78% of employers plan a four-day Thanksgiving weekend for employees. Additionally, 97% of HR execs who responded said their company will provide a day off with pay on Thanksgiving for all or most of their employees. This is down from 2016 (the numbers remained unchanged from 2017) when 99% of employers offered Thanksgiving as a paid holiday.

The survey also found that 33% of organizations will require at least some employees to work this weekend – but 85% of those companies will provide extra compensation (whether financial or another form).

For employers who have employees working hard this weekend, such as those in the retail and hospitality industries, it’s key to ensure you’re keeping workers engaged and motivated through a high-stress time. Check out our recent post here for some tips.

Elsewhere, and for your downtime, Wired shared this oldie, but goodie about having fun with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Danielle Ng-See-Quan

Dani is the Senior Manager, Content Marketing at Ceridian.

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