REDUCING WORKFORCE COSTS THROUGH ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN / by Grey Space

Let’s face it, minimum staffing ratios applied nationally for Residential Aged Care seem to now be a looming reality - despite the advantage of a more tailored and considered solution to staffing mix, and the associated cost increases are sure to hurt.  Now more than ever must we hunt down viable and long-term approaches to workforce cost reduction through other means.

site review plan exerpt

Have you ever thought that perhaps your building design might be detrimentally inefficient, or might actually support residents’ behavioural outcomes that absorb enormous amounts of time from your most beloved staff?  Grey Space Aged Care Architects Caroline, Lee and Sara have all witnessed a multitude of shocking examples of existing (and even some new) facility designs that in their very nature hinder staff efficiency and must be near impossible to operate on budget.  They have decided to collectively turn this insight and their professional training as Aged Care Planners and Architects into additional support services for their key clients.  By their dedication to designing and delivering successful Residential Aged Care solutions, they each bring a level of skill to projects that is more than just the typical architectural design process. Whilst working on a number of refurbishments, upgrades and repurposing projects the trio are applying their experience to physical environment audit services, to the benefit of all involved.

Caroline Treacy, Managing Director of Grey Space Architecture Plus, leads this initiative into audit services.  She is a Registered Architect in Qld and NSW with two degrees and a list of corporate positions as a Director, business executive, NFP Property Asset Chair, LHA assessor, board of architects examiner, project manager and creative designer – a busy yet balanced mix particularly hard to find. With a passion for financial viability, construction efficiency, customer and consumer focus and construction contracts, Caroline’s Residential Aged Care and Retirement Living design and project management experience has spanned 30 years with over 40 different industry projects prior to the establishment of Grey Space, and a balance of approximately 1,300 Beds and 1,300 separate Independent Living Units produced under Grey Space’s banner since.  She has patiently watched many challenges and various personalities come to and mostly leave the sector, and is one of the few architects who are experienced enough to make a successful difference to the progress and quality of Australia’s stock, as well as be a key advocate for the absolute need for better innovation and improved outcomes to the viability of the industry itself.

Should there be reason to query the efficiency of Care staff due to no fault of their own, a facility audit offers a way to establish avenues for further pursuit.  Fixed fee services typically include an audit, workshop and priorities recommendations, although scope can be tailored to suit specific organisational drivers such as Mission, Model of Care, Budgeting process, Committee approvals and already designated upgrade scopes or projects.

Residential Aged Care Providers are encouraged to seriously consider discussing the viability and value of an Architectural Design Audit – a great way to investigate sustainable opportunities for reduced workforce costs.