For some workers, the dream of retirement is the only thing keeping them going.
But according to a new study from Harvard Business School, there’s one thing workplaces can give workers that will not only make them happier at work, it could actually see them delay retirement.
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The study, (Live and) Work from Anywhere: Geographic Flexibility and Productivity Effects at the United States Patent Office, looked at US workers and the way they chose to work and where, and where they chose to retire.
It found that workers who had the ability to “work from anywhere” – not just work from home – were more productive.
The researchers also found that when presented with a choice, workers closer to retirement tended to move to more “retirement-friendly” areas like Florida.
“Higher-tenured workers are more likely to choose a geographic location such as Florida (which is arguably better suited as a pre-retirement destination) suggests that future work can explore whether WFA could have career-extending benefits, motivating workers closer to retirement to remain in the workforce and be productive,” researchers Prithwiraj Choudhury, Cirrus Foroughi and Barbara Larson said.
This indicates businesses that offer a “work from anywhere” policy could help them retain top talent, according to the research.
It comes as countries like Australia grapple with an ageing population, and questions around how to fund the pensions of so many soon-to-be retirees.
According to Roy Morgan research released in December 2018, over the course of 2019 there will be nearly half a million Australians hoping to move into retirement.
That’s an increase of 30 per cent in the last 10 years. But Australians are also unprepared to fund their own retirement.
“The average level of savings and superannuation for those intending to retire in the next 12 months is well below what is required to be able to lead what the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia describes as a comfortable lifestyle,” said Roy Morgan spokesperson Norman Morris.
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“This will put more pressure on government funding for some time yet unless there are changes to eligibility rules, taxation or superannuation regulations.”
Soon-to-be retirees will also likely have to delay their retirement, as the average net worth of this group is $350,000, below the $545,000 recommended by the superannuation industry’s peak body.