888.996.6993 | 24/7 Support
BlogCommunication Technology7 Productivity Hacks for Your Senior Living Staff

7 Productivity Hacks for Your Senior Living Staff

The senior living staffing shortage is still in full swing. As a result, leaders and employees have to do more with less. 

In order to actually do more, though, every team needs the right toolkit. With the wrong approach, it’s easy for staff to burn out – and make the shortage that much worse.

Here, we’ve got a list of productivity hacks to help out your team. From the organizational to the individual, they’re a great way to boost efficiency without overtaxing your staff. 

Org-Wide Productivity Strategies: From Calendar Tools to AI Platforms

Org-wide productivity depends on a system that unifies disparate tools, automates manual tasks, and sets employees up to do their best work. Let’s take a look at four productivity strategies that can help you achieve just that.

1. Simplify Calendar Management with Digital Tools

Many senior living communities still use a combination of paper and digital tools to manage their life enrichment calendars. But that approach can slow down activity planning and make it tough to keep staff and residents on the same page about upcoming events.

With centralized calendar software, your senior living staff can spend less time on calendar management and more time working with residents. The key: technology that offers…

  • A real-time calendar sync with Outlook or Google Calendar.
  • Smart filters that can display activities by service level, coordinator, meeting location, and more.
  • Adjustable event colors, icons, and fonts to suit a range of accessibility needs.
  • A mobile app so staff can post announcements or schedule events on the go.

Calendar management software can save your staff time every day. But more than that, it can make life enrichment planning a lower-stress experience – key to retaining staff long term.

2. Deploy Smart Home Technology to Simplify Wellness Check-Ins

Wellness check-ins are standard in every senior living community. It’s what happens between check-ins that can keep staff up at night. A resident might wander out of sight or suffer a nasty fall. And prevention may require more frequent monitoring – a tough ask for overstretched staff.

Smart home technology can make things easier. Picture a smartwatch that can alert senior living staff if a resident leaves the property unsupervised. Or an Alexa device that residents can ask to call the front desk after a fall. No matter the tool, this tech can supplement physical wellness check-ins to lighten your staff’s load.

But wait: aren’t these tools too complicated for older adults to actually use? Don’t believe the myth. A lot of this tech is designed for users of all age groups. And with enough training, older adults won’t just embrace smart home tech – they’ll also feel empowered by the agency it provides.

3. Collaborate with Staff to Set Work Schedules

A few years ago, flexible schedules might have been a rare perk. Now, they’re an employee expectation.

One reason why? Senior living staff have rich and complex lives outside of work. They don’t want to waste time or energy worrying about that doctor’s appointment they couldn’t set up or that daycare pickup they had to hand off. If they can’t collaborate with senior living leaders to find a schedule that meets their needs, they won’t hesitate to find another job.

If you want to add more flexibility to your scheduling approach, consider these tips:

  • Use a digital scheduling tool so workers can see all available shifts.
  • Let your team offer input on the shifts that work best for them.
  • Alert staff about open shifts with automated notifications. 
  • Allow shift swapping among employees in case an emergency comes up last minute.

With the right scheduling model, you can give your senior living staff more control over their work experience. The impact: a more satisfied and productive team.

4. Automate Administrative Tasks with AI

We’ve hinted at automation a bit so far, from calendar syncing to shift notifications. But with AI, you can automate a lot more. Picture AI that can…

  • Draft messages to residents and families.
  • Suggest activities to fill out your life enrichment calendar.
  • Translate engagement data into valuable insights.

That technology is here. And it can handle many of the mundane tasks that eat up your staff’s time. What’s more, AI technology, like Smart Aging™ solutions, can also enhance the resident experience.

Personal Productivity Strategies: From a Daily Agenda to the Pomodoro Method

Org-wide productivity hacks can go a long way. But there’s a personal element too: everyone needs a system that helps them stay focused. Here, let’s dive into three productivity strategies that can help your team fine-tune their approach.

5. Set a Daily Agenda

Your staff has a lot of work to do and limited support to do it. That makes it easy for folks to feel overwhelmed and burned out. But with a daily agenda, team members can triage tasks and add more structure to a sometimes-hectic environment.

How folks build their agenda is up to them, of course: some folks prefer pen and paper, while others prefer a digital to-do list. No matter their approach, a few best practices can help your staff maximize their productivity:

  • Keep it short: Three to five agenda items is the sweet spot. After all, no one’s ever made it through a mile-long to-do list.
  • Set priorities: Be realistic about what can be done today and what needs to get done ASAP.
  • Be transparent: Encourage folks to share their agenda with supervisors. If something urgent comes up, they can discuss what needs to be deprioritized and stay on the same page.

The takeaway: agendas can be a helpful way for staff to stay on track, especially when they need to do more with less.

6. Test Out Different Time Management Methods

Everyone has their own time management system. Maybe you’re a fan of the Getting Things Done method. Or you like to “eat the frog” every morning and start with your hardest task.

It’s always smart, though, to have a few alternatives in your toolbox. When your team is in a crunch, you can share new strategies to help folks stay productive.

Not sure where to start? Try…

  • The Pomodoro Technique: Pair bursts of focused work (typically 20 to 25 minutes) with short breaks (around five minutes each).
  • Time Blocking: Break up the workday into blocks. Then, assign a single task or activity to every block.
  • The Eisenhower Matrix: Take prioritization a step further by dividing tasks into four quadrants: do now, schedule, delegate, and delete.

Remember to be patient as your team tests out these methods: what works for one person might frustrate another. And be mindful of neurodiversity, too. An employee with ADHD, for instance, may have different time management needs than neurotypical folks.

The bottom line: by working with your team to improve their time management, you can set your staff up for success.

7. Avoid Multitasking

It happens to everyone: you’re writing an email when a time-sensitive message comes in. So you take a moment to reply. But then a team member asks you to proof-read an activity update. Half an hour later, that email’s still not done. And you don’t even want to think about the rest of your to-do list.

There’s a reason this sounds so stressful: we just aren’t built to multitask. While multitasking can feel productive, it actually makes it harder to avoid distractions and quickly get things done. 

No matter how much is on your staff’s plate, encourage folks to focus on one task at a time. Make sure your team culture allows for that, too. If leaders expect tight deadlines and an always-on mindset, people will feel pressured to do what they must to deliver results.

Stay Productive During and After This Staffing Crisis

With these productivity hacks in hand, your senior living staff can weather the current staffing crisis. What’s more, you’ll have a solid foundation to stay efficient when you’re on the other side of this storm.We’ve built Icon’s technology to support the full spectrum of staff needs. If you want to learn more, get in touch – let’s start a conversation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2045 W Grande Ave, Suite B
PMB: 20577
Chicago, IL 60612

© 2022 Icon.  All rights reserved.