For years, the senior housing industry has taken its cues for entryway design from other industries, such as healthcare and hospitality. A new report from senior living architecture firm Perkins Eastman shows that there are far more operators available to collect elsewhere in the community.
A recently published report outlines some ways owners and operators can borrow inspiration from other industries to better support the needs, health and well-being of their aging workforce. In the process, it reduces burnout and improves worker retention and recruitment.
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only caused a rethink of the senior living business, but it has also exacerbated staffing shortages. According to Hilary DeGroff, associate of Perkins Eastman, co-author of the report and his principal, this has created a renewed awareness that employee needs matter.
“I think one of the many things we’ve learned in the last few years is the realization of how a staff workplace can really improve their well-being,” DeGroff told Senior Housing News. I was.
She noted that other sectors such as healthcare and higher education are starting to rethink their designs in light of the pandemic.
Examples include staff lounges and employee pantries where employees can snack and socialize, or hybrid workspaces that eschew classic corporate America desks and offices to provide a casual environment.
According to the report, senior living communities may already have the tools to create these kinds of spaces. For example, the operator may encourage staff to eat lunch at the bistro or use the meditation room during quiet hours.
With the help of Perkins Eastman, the Frasier Retirement Community of Boulder, Colorado incorporated a phone room and wellness room into the staff lounge design. The company has also moved its administrative and executive offices to an unused space in the performing arts center on campus.
According to CEO Tim Johnson, the idea behind the move was to serve a range of needs.
“In addition to having a beautiful dedicated space, it must also be functional,” he said in the report. “Sink, fridge and space to spread out are important.”
Conversely, the community welcomed residents into administrative and executive spaces that they normally use for programming and activities. During events, the lobby becomes a pre-function space, and meeting rooms are connected by large bi-fold doors.
“[Frasier] We wanted to make sure there were no starts and stops between the resident and staff spaces,” says DeGroff.
That theme of breaking down barriers carries over to other aspects that operators can borrow from other industries. For example, staying connected to the outdoors is important for residents, but it’s also important for staff.
Enso Village, a Kendal Corp. community under construction in Sonoma County, California, incorporated natural materials into its interior spaces for a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.
After all, the senior living industry will still be in the midst of a tough working environment in 2023, not to mention the needs and wants of workers still evolving rapidly.