Designs for the Ages: Meeting the Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce

By Meilink, Louis A., Jr.; Grimes, Christina | Health Facilities Management, July 2015 | Go to article overview

Designs for the Ages: Meeting the Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce


Meilink, Louis A., Jr., Grimes, Christina, Health Facilities Management


Today's multigenerational workforce has a wide range of needs, varying working styles and often differing priorities.

Staff at most health care institutions span a range of generations--historically from the Silent Generation to baby boomers and Generation X and, rapidly, millennials (also known as Generation Y) and beyond.

When developing new health care facilities, design professionals can address the priorities of this evolving workforce through an inclusive planning and design process, which responds to the needs of the entire constituency.

Generational preferences

How can architects help to mediate the interests of all stakeholders and provide flexible spaces to accommodate the rapidly changing needs of staff and patients?

To plan and design for the health care workplace, designers first must understand how these generations work as individuals and how they interact with other generations.

Baby boomers, who typically appreciate commitment and teamwork, have been trailblazers throughout their lives. Gen Xers have a self-directed working style and strive to find a work-life balance. Millennials are considered digital natives and, thus, more comfortable with using technology in all aspects of their daily lives [see sidebar, Page 33].

When designing health care spaces for this multigenerational workforce, designers must consider each approach and strike a balance that not only allows the work environment to flow, but also takes advantage of new developments to improve the overall care delivery model. These spaces need to be responsive to differing generational perspectives and, more importantly, flexible to adjust over time to workforce evolution.

For example, electronic health records (EHRs) have resulted in different impacts and optimal spaces for clinical care depending on the typical user. The decentralized station, the central station and in-room charting all have taken on different roles and there appears to be a generational preference for the variety of spaces.

In recent post-occupancy evaluation surveys of nursing work patterns, architects from the design firm Ballinger in Philadelphia explored the generational preference related to which staff chose to work at a decentralized station vs. a central station, or to chart in the patient room.

Those from the baby boomer group were two times more likely to use the decentralized stations over their millennial and Gen X peers. Additionally, they selected the charting station in the room a mere seven percent of the time. In the survey, there was a clear preference for the decentralized station with its direct patient sight lines, proximity to the patient and, potentially, a reduction in travel distances.

The Gen X group was 30 percent more likely to work at the central station than the baby boomers or millennials, which demonstrates their preference for a strong peer network and collaborative work style. They also chose the charting station in the room 22 percent of the time, significantly more than their baby boomer peers. This suggests an increase in willingness to chart in front of the patients.

The millennial group appeared to spend 12 percent less of their shift charting than the baby boomer and Gen X groups, indicating that their status as digital natives may allow them to simply chart faster. Additionally, the millennial group used the station in the room 26 percent of the time they were charting, more than either their Gen X or baby boomer peers, alluding to a comfort level of the digital connection in the patient's presence.

Sociologist Barry Wellman coined the term "networked individualism" to describe the way loose-knit networks of people--especially millennial--are overtaking more tight-knit groups and large hierarchical bureaucracies. This notion of networked individualism influences the work space and preferences of evolving generational groups. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Designs for the Ages: Meeting the Needs of a Multigenerational Workforce
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.