Sounding Board of Seniors Recap

By Outi Köhler

5 min. read

Onnexi Oy spent several years testing and exploring various ways to make employment for retirees more accessible and straightforward. Here is a summary of the experiences compiled by researcher Outi Köhler from those working at Onnexi. AgeIn was born by listening to the needs and desires of Onnexi's retired employees.

Recap of Expert Panel Interviews in June 2023

Hello and thank you for participating in the expert panel interviews in June and sharing your insights! We appreciate your feedback that the survey felt important:

**"Building the expert panel is a great initiative! It shows that Onnexi wants to listen!"

**"I appreciate that we're doing this, asking for opinions. People want to share!"

In total, six interviews were conducted, and here's a summary of some key topics discussed.

"I Already Knew I Would Work in Retirement"

None of the interviewees had the opportunity to continue working at their last job after retiring. Only one of them immediately found full-time work after retirement, and that happened through their own network. Retirees face significant challenges in the job market. Working with Onnexi represents pioneering work. Choosing how to spend their time on work is seen as meaningful and an integral part of their current lives. The key motivation for seeking work during retirement has been that work and an active attitude have been essential aspects of their lives even before retiring. The difference now is that work-related obligations and pressures have shifted to self-driven employment. Work is perceived as meaningful because it is seen as helping people: there's a sense of being needed.

"I Still Have the Energy to Work"

Retirement has created opportunities to pursue one's interests. It allows for travel whenever desired. "I want to do physical work; the pay is fine. Work keeps me active, in shape, and I get to meet people of all ages." The importance of work for well-being was highlighted: work brings joy, helps cope with difficulties, and facilitates facing even tougher challenges. Attention was paid to the number of work tasks, location, and accessibility. Only in a few instances has a job request gone unfulfilled. It was also emphasized that all work should be valued. Accepting and performing a job well is about building trust and finding new opportunities. "I want to uphold Onnexi's reputation for quality and reliability: when we do something, we do it well, or as well as possible." "When you do a small job well, you might get another, maybe a slightly larger one. It's been delicate building."

Diversity in assignments was desired. For instance, contributing to an organization as a member can free up a permanent worker to focus on another task, such as reporting. "Onnexi's employees could provide insights and ideas regarding customer interface because they notice additional needs."

"The First Time at a New Place Was Nerve-wracking"

Several participants mentioned feeling appreciated in their workplace and for their work tasks, and that their contributions have been genuinely needed. It was also stressed that one should not forget to appreciate one's own work. "Work is important to me. I've become even more passionate about learning new things." Among the challenges faced by workers are occasional imbalances in self-driven and voluntary work, and the responsibility they entail. There have been last-minute cancellations, which have caused stressful situations for others. Organizational support was sought to deal with bigger challenges, and improvements in work task instructions were desired. IT skills were brought up from two perspectives: not only were there needs for updates among colleagues regarding computer use and security, but there were also concerns related to creating work orders for elderly private customers (the order placer is not always a family member). While IT support has generally been available, it was suggested that it should receive more attention in the future.
"Community is an Encouraging Force"**

The development of community within the overall framework of Onnexi was met with a highly positive attitude, and some were even looking forward to it. It was seen as enhancing the sense of belonging to something larger. "It sounds great! It would broaden my way of thinking and allow me to learn new things." "The group doesn't necessarily have to be related to my area of expertise, because Onnexi may offer various tasks if you have other skills or preferences for different types of work. In hobby groups, everyone starts on equal footing, regardless of their previous work experience." "A commendable idea! Some of this is already happening, although spontaneously, in smaller and more scattered groups, through casual get-togethers with different groups. It can advance certain matters more easily when you've had coffee together for a while."

On the other hand, there were concerns about potential weariness, even hurt feelings, and jealousy within groups. "Not everyone can establish a technical connection, or find it suitable. It doesn't seem necessary or reasonable for some. It may be challenging to include some people. However, virtual meetings offer the advantage that participants can be from different parts of Finland." In terms of developing the online environment, there was a desire for sufficient user-friendliness and clarity. The motivation to join a group or team was the idea of learning about other people's work tasks and getting inspired to try a similar type of work. It was also seen as a role of giving back. "You always learn something new, understand things in a new way, and learn new ways of doing things." "Ideas could emerge! And it's easier to present a group idea than an individual one."

Thank you for your time and contributions to the Expert Panel thus far! New survey themes are already emerging, and more participants will be invited to join the Expert Panel during our continuing journey.

Have a great day and stay happy!

Best regards,

Outi Köhler was a researcher at Onnexi Oy during 2023.

Invitation to Break Age-Related Stereotypes!

Join us in shattering stereotypes related to aging! Let's work together to enable those who wish to continue working after retirement age. Remaining active and purposeful has been proven to directly impact the quality of life in the later years. Reduced illness and frailty, improved memory, and more – the benefits are numerous.

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