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Critically discuss the multiple meanings of the 'working environment' for workers, managers and service users. How can managers work to improve care environments?

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Introduction

Critically discuss the multiple meanings of the 'working environment' for workers, managers and service users. How can managers work to improve care environments? Introduction In writing this assignment I will answer both aspects of the question. I will identify that one's working environment can be another's living environment and the problems that may arise as a result of this. I will also work towards finding ways in which to improve on those problem areas. I will make good use of the course materials but I will also draw upon my own experiences within the workplace. Designing any building must be a large task but when that building has many, many different functions the task must become enormous. When a care environment is designed the designer must take into account so many issues, both from the perspective of those who may work there and those that may live there whilst also acknowledging visitors. During this assignment I can only hope to cover a small amount of these issues, those I do cover will be relevant to my workplace. (See Appendix One for a floor plan). Main Discussion In the children's home where I work the environment has three main uses: - It's a living environment, for the young people (currently all teenagers, 2 girls and 2 boys, there are also two vacancies). - It's a working environment, for the team of support staff, education staff, the care team and the management team. ...read more.

Middle

The upstairs area is rarely used through the day and incident's rarely occur in this area, with the exception of bedtimes. It seems strange then, for the manager's office to be located here - away from the general running of the unit including the 'heart of the home' (kitchen) and the team room. Adults always seem to be running upstairs with the phone (which is cordless and needs to be carried at all times by the shift leader), they also have to go upstairs to use the photocopier or fax and to collect stationary and paperwork. However, you always seem to be 'intruding' when entering the room as the manager directly faces you across her desk and the admin assistant has her back to you - working at her desk. In the course reader Whitaker, Archer and Hicks discuss staff views "Feeling supported by their line managers is important for reducing stress and a sense of isolation in staff groups" (Whitaker, Archer and Hicks, 2003, p. 45). How can our day to day line manager support us if she doesn't know what's happening even though she is in the building? And if the staff team feel that they are intruding then do the young people feel it too? This feeling would be very difficult to manage within your own 'home'. Often meetings take place here too - leaving the room 'out of bounds' but clearly audible through the wall which separates this room from a young persons bedroom. ...read more.

Conclusion

Conclusions In conclusion we can see that the care environment has many different uses and all of the people using it have to be taken into account when spatial configuration and planning is discussed. However, the service user's - those that spend the most time in the structure and often need to feel 'at home' - should be our primary concern. The young people are defiantly the primary concern within WH and the unit is very 'homely'. However, there is room for improvement. For this to take place the manager needs to think about her own position within the unit and how 'front-line' she needs to be in order to support the workforce and the young people. The distribution of power that the environment promotes also requires further attention with regard to standards, territory and choice. Having said that it is also clear that a poorly designed environment that has another use as a workplace can make it's workforce very unhappy. Looking at balancing dependencies, adapting to conditions and re-negotiating the environment could have a terrific impact on the team at WH and the answer to the problem could so easily be found and negotiated. All in all I have found that with so many aspects and issues to consider "There is no perfect organisational arrangement for delivering care" (K303 learning guide, 2003, p. 69). ...read more.

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