July 13, 2023

Improving IP work-life balance, retention with an alternative work schedule

Editor's Note

This study from the Falls Church, Virginia-based Inova Health System finds that an alternative work schedule improved work-life balance, productivity, and morale of its infection preventionists (IPs).

With the surges and threats of emerging infectious diseases, the Inova Health System was dealing with a shortage of IPs and offered them alternative work schedules (eg, four 10s or 5/4/9) to help prevent burnout and improve retention.

The majority of IPs switched to an alternative work schedule, primarily the 5/4/9 format, and also fit in a work-from-home day every other week.

Concerns with coverage were resolved by using a time management system, shared calendar tool, and paging system. Productivity was measured by the number of tracers, rounds, and special projects completed.

Implementation of the alternative work schedule involved reassessment of priorities, structured cross-coverage, and transparency of challenges and opportunities, the authors say. Ultimately the benefits of the alternative work schedule outweighed the slightly longer work day.


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