Flexible Schedules for Caregivers

In 2008, Jon Huntsman, Utah Governor, moved the majority of Utah’s state employees to a four-day workweek hoping to reduce energy expenses. The state government surveyed a few months after the switch and found the new, flexible schedule had increased employee productivity, lowered commuting costs, and reduced traffic congestion. A study at Brigham Young University later reinforced how implementing this schedule and others like it has cut back on work-life conflict and improved the overall productivity of employees.

Employee turnover and productivity seem to be a constant battle that all companies fight on a regular basis and the home care industry is no exception. Mr. Huntsman, however, found a method that worked best for his employees. And though changing to a four-day workweek isn’t realistic for every business, this example makes a strong case for schedule flexibility. As a home care provider, you can also increase your employee productivity, which can, over time, have a drastic positive impact on caregiver turnover.

Home Care Pulse interviews thousands of caregivers each month through our Satisfaction Management Program. One of the first questions we ask a caregiver is why they decided to work for their agency over another. We have found it not uncommon for caregivers to leave one agency over another due to schedule inflexibility. As one caregiver put it, “I was actually working for a different company before this agency and the main problem with my previous company was the hours. They just weren’t giving them to me.” She stated. “I looked into other agencies and found that this agency provides the right amount of hours that work with my schedule and can still change if I have something come up. I don’t see myself leaving this agency anytime soon.”

17.7% of caregivers agree that their agency selection was based upon the working schedule meeting their lifestyle. The 2015 Private Duty Benchmarking Study reports the caregiver turnover rate has increased to 61.6%, as compared to 53.2% in 2013. While adjusting your agency to fit such standards, it’s a delicate balance between the real, immediate costs and long-term, secondary benefits. Look into the satisfaction levels of your caregivers and clients to gauge the success of your efforts.

Home Care is a very personable and authentic industry. Providing high-quality care to clients through satisfied caregivers should be a major focus, and try not to allow short-term pressures to keep you from delivering the care you want your agency to be known for.

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  1. Colin May 8, 2015 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    I don’t see how this 4 day week would work for home care. Home care is a 7 day 52 week position Many workers don’t get enough hours as it is so how is working less days going to fix that? Besides, very few people want to work many weekends so if you were to work Mon – Thurs one week, Tues – Fri the next, Wed – Sat. the third, Thurs – Sun, Fri – Mon, Sat – Tues., Sun- Wed, Mon- Thurs there’s 5 w/ends in which you would be working ALL or part of the w/end.in a row.
    NOT for me thanks I prefer my ALTERNATE w/ends off.

    • Home Care Pulse June 24, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      You’re right Colin. A 4-day week definitely isn’t for everyone or every company. Flexibility though, even if it doesn’t mean a 4-day week definitely pays off in this field. It’s great when caregivers who want more hours can get them, and those who don’t aren’t obligated to take them on. I guess it’s about finding the schedule that best meets your employees’ and clients’ needs, which can be a tricky balance.

  2. Mike Karasch May 11, 2015 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Flexibility is one of our core values, with our clients and personal assistants. We do not assign clients, we offer them to our employees. They choose to accept or decline.However… once they do accept we expect them to remain committed to that clients as continuity between client and personal assistant is a high priority for us.

    Our turnover rate has been 10+% lower than industry average for the past few years. We firmly believe that flexibility is part of the equation.

    • Home Care Pulse June 24, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Mike, this is a great way to combine flexibility with consistency. Since so many caregivers are looking for personalized scheduling from their employers, I think this is a fantastic way to make that possible without detracting from client satisfaction.

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