Staff Choice


Staff struggled to manage work and life on a set in-person schedule; residents wanted more staff presence on-site


Allow staff to choose their own schedule between 7a-7p, 7 days/week


Test these “flex schedules” for 30 days


Phase in “choice schedules” across POAH’s portfolio

Workplace flexibility had become the norm for many corporate support staff who were able to work hybrid schedules, choosing days they worked from home or from the office. Yet these same flexibilities weren’t extended to frontline staff, many of whom had continued showing up to their property in person throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, residents across POAH properties shared their feelings that staff presence on-site often made them feel safer and more comfortable. They wanted more staff time on-site, not less.

People in a room having a conversation.
POAH staff worked as a team to develop a daily work schedule that would serve residents and allow flexibility for staff.

One POAH staff suggested that choice over their daily work schedule would help staff feel more empowered and practice work/life balance. Moreover, if the daily work hours were more flexible, including mornings, evenings and weekends, it may also increase the staff presence that residents found so valuable. To test the idea, POAH offered frontline staff in multiple properties the opportunity to choose a new weekly work schedule. The test schedule had parameters (work days were limited to 10 hours, offices needed sufficient open hours for residents) but also gave teams the opportunity to work together to find a schedule that worked best for them.

After 30 days, staff completed a survey to assess how the new schedule impacted their work experience. Over 65% of participants found they were less stressed at work as a result. More than 70% of participants wanted to maintain their new schedule, while some chose to go back to their original schedule.

Key Learning

At the core of the idea was the notion of choice. If staff had more choice in their work experience, such as by choosing a work schedule, they could feel more empowered and less stressed at work. Working together to design a schedule created an opportunity for shared power, rather than leaving power in the hands of a few leaders such as one property manager or supervisor.

The flexibility also gave staff an opportunity to better manage their work and life responsibilities. “Typically my weekends are so busy doing tasks/errands I have no time for during the week.” said one staff person, “The flex schedule allowed me extra days…allowing me to have a “down” day to just relax…Being at the office later enabled me to schedule appointments to accommodate my residents who needed appointments later in the day.”

As a result of the prototype, POAH is piloting a phased-in approach to staff choice over schedules – including “core” work hours and flexible work hours that would meet both resident, staff and property goals. The pilot will monitor the impact of choice schedules on staff wellbeing and performance and assess the impact on resident experience.

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