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A Lesson in Employee Satisfaction: What Healthcare Can Learn From Traditional Offices
There is no looking back, the future of healthcare is changing. As technology and new workstyles pervade our culture, our healthcare clients are being forced to recognize problems in the way they do business.
There are a number of similarities between the challenges healthcare is facing now, and those that our workplace clients have being dealing with for years. These are issues like: changing workstyles, mobile technology and a shrinking workforce.
A SHORTAGE IN TALENT
The shortage of talent is global and effecting many industries. Doctors and nurses are no exception. As their numbers decrease, the number of patients seems to increase which causes everyone’s satisfaction level to go down. As a result, more extreme measures are required to respond to the needs of caregivers. We have to start creating work environments that support the needs of hospital staff. This will soon be a determining factor for staff who have their pick of jobs.
work happens at a variety of different times, in a variety of settings, inside and outside the office.
RE-ENGAGING YOUR WORKFORCE
Rapid changes to the landscape of healthcare has not been met with rapid response within the healthcare environment. Changes in process, reimbursement policies and the unavailability of talent have resulted in increased risk, responsibility and hours on the job. This can lead to a widespread feelings of frustration, lack of control, and burnout among critical healthcare staff. The result is often disengagement.
Workplace studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive. Even a slight increase in staff performance can cover the initial cost of a better work environment. Working environments that are well lit, provide thermal comfort, allow views to nature, have a balance between communal space and focused workspace has the ability to increase communication and collaboration, often resulting in better employee engagement.
TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON SPACE
Technology has allowed knowledge workers to become mobile while enabling real-time collaboration of team members without being in the same room. An increasing number of corporate employees have no dedicated workspace in their offices, and work happens at a variety of different times, in a variety of settings, inside and outside the office.
Technology has also allowed healthcare employees to chart diagnoses and care plans electronically, allowing physician’s immediate and up-to-date access of a patient’s history. It’s allowed doctors to confer with each other instantaneously, regardless of location and perform highly technical surgical procedures remotely. As a result, space for triage and charting have evolved dramatically.
NEW CARE MODEL, DIFFERENT SPACE NEEDS
Today’s care models have a stronger focus on education and screening for preventive care. They offer shared medical appointments, telehealth services and combined specialty services within one setting. Clinical and outpatient facilities require flexible and highly efficient space that responds to the complex workflow and needs of multidisciplinary care. However, this does not necessarily mean more square footage.
Corporate environments have been very successful in shrinking the footprint allocated per worker yet many of these spaces look and feel more generous to employees. This is due in part to decreasing the amount of private and task-specific space, and an increase in transitional space that allows the same activities to occur while providing for a variety of postures and places.
As healthcare continues to change, a high level of performance from both staff AND the space in which care is delivered, will be critical to compensation and the future success of every healthcare environment.