Medford, Ore. -– Addictions Recovery Center, Inc. (ARC) is implementing a four-day workweek – with no reduction in pay for staff, and no reduction in service capacity for clients – to ensure employees are able to maintain a healthy work and life balance.

Most ARC staff in fulltime positions have worked a more traditional 5-day, 40 hours a week schedule, with other positions, such as the agency’s Licensed Practical Nurses and Sobering Support Specialists, working three 12-hour rotations a week. But as of July 11th, most agency employees will work a maximum four-day, 32-hour week with no reduction in pay. According to ARC President and CEO Lori Paris, the intense nature of the work – which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent wildfires – has called for some out-of-the-box thinking to support the ARC team.

“Addictions Recovery Center is committed to our employees’ wellness – including both their physical and mental health,” Paris said. “This shift to a four-day, 32-hour schedule is in line with keeping that promise.”

Keeping pay the same while reducing hours worked means all ARC staff will be seeing a significant increase in their hourly wage, with wages for fulltime salaries increasing by virtue of working fewer hours, and hourly wages for part time employees being increased to match that of their fulltime counterparts. Those working the three-day, 36-hour schedule will also be getting a 10% across the board raise to ensure this change provides equitable benefit agency-wide. Paris said this is a priority for ARC as it works to invest in its people and improve the quality of their lives.

“We are grateful to be able to provide substance-use treatment and recovery support services to our community, and we have ensured that this move will not impact access to our services,” Paris said. “But it is challenging work, and our team are exposed to potential vicarious trauma while helping those we serve. This change, in addition to other benefits, allows us to support them as they provide support for others.”

Even before implementation, the appreciation of this change is already being felt through the agency. Ben Spence, ARC’s Community Support Supervisor, said his team of certified peer mentors is grateful that ARC cares about staff wellbeing as much as it does the wellbeing of the individuals and families they serve.

“Working in a field where burnout is so common, the team feels validated and supported,” Spence said. “With this move, along with some of the pre-existing policies, ARC is showing us that they recognize our value and truly care about our wellbeing. Plus, we know that healthy clinicians grow healthy clients.”

Spence said that not only will the four-day workweek help him and his team in the work they do, but it also will have a big impact on their personal lives as well.

“I feel like we are taking our own advice in a sense,” he said. “We express all the time to our clients the importance of self-care, balance, and taking a holistic approach to recovery.”

“Our new schedules will promote physical, emotional, and social wellbeing,” Spence continued. “I feel like ARC is valuing me as a person, not just an employee.”

The four-day work week is only the next step in ARC’s commitment to investing in its team. In addition to offering above market wages, the agency also currently provides Medical and Dental Health Coverage and Life insurance with no premium cost for employees, three to six weeks accrued Vacation per year (based upon years of service), paid Sick Time, 10 paid Holidays a year, a 401k Retirement Plan with Employer Match and immediate vesting, an employee wellness program, and more. And while this schedule change may seem radical to some, Paris said the writing has long been on the wall.

“We’ve known for some time that a four-day workweek improves employees’ health and wellbeing, leads to better performance and job satisfaction, and strengthens retention. And we’ve likewise wanted to make this move for a while, but outside factors like the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed it,” Paris said. “Ultimately, though, this was inevitable. It is the future, and our team is worth it.”