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A photo of our Founder and CEO John McGeehan, LCSW with the text "New Unlimited PTO At The Dorm" next to him.

Unlimited PTO at The Dorm: Founder & CEO John McGeehan, LCSW Shares How It Came to Be, And How It’s Set Up For Success

Est. reading time: 3 mins
Posted Under: Interviews

Clinically Reviewed by: Amanda Fialk, PhD, LCSW, LICSW

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This 2023, we’re excited to offer inspiring new career opportunities for growth and enriching benefits that allow our team to rest, recharge and feel their best. In this in-depth interview, Our CEO and Founder shares details about our new Unlimited PTO benefit to support team members. 

What was the goal behind bringing Unlimited PTO Benefit to The Dorm?

Our primary goal is to empower our clinicians to take the time for self care that they need, so that they can rest, recharge, and be their best for themselves and our community. We also hope to model self care for our clients and for the industry at large. It will show our clients and clinicians what sustainable, supportive employment looks like!

How does this new benefit align with our vision as an organization?

First, one of the principles our organization is founded on — and what was the initial inspiration for The Dorm — is asking “what’s possible?” We were told that clients wouldn’t benefit from intensive treatment offered in the heart of New York City and Washington, D.C.  But here we are, having done that successfully for 13 years now! And just like we ask what’s possible for our clients, we also ask what’s possible for clinicians; how can we empower our clinicians and provide them with the best benefits, and create avenues for growth into leadership positions? We hope these new policies inspire the rest of our industry to ask what’s possible.

Second, this policy aligns with our holistic approach at The Dorm. Having unlimited PTO considers the whole person: we know that wellness and time off doesn’t always fit into the bucket of “sick days” or “vacation.” Wellness can mean different things to different people. So we’re not defining it anymore. Instead, we are empowering everyone to create their own personal framework with it.

Offering this policy is unique in our industry – why did it feel important to the organization to do this now?

I think the pandemic really opened up the conversation around how different we all are – where we live, the way we work, our view of work-life balance, the family systems at home. This warrants us to ask and reimagine what our employees need. If we don’t change our policies now then we won’t be keeping up with people’s new lifestyle needs and values, and ultimately our clients and our staff will be negatively impacted. 

While most companies are back to in-person, that doesn’t mean we have to go back to the way things were; we have a responsibility both as clinicians and as a company to make the work we do more flexible, sustainable, and compassionate.

Why and how did the roll-out of this benefit come to life? How has it been set up for success?

Unlimited PTO was an idea stemming from our staff during the pandemic and right away we knew that to roll it out successfully we had to do it incrementally. Unlimited PTO can easily be viewed as just a policy “buzzword” that doesn’t have its intended effect.  A LOT of thoughtful infrastructure needed to be put in place, and there were a lot of steps.

To start, we knew that we had to embody a culture that allows people to take time off. Through ongoing conversations we learned that what was actually preventing clinicians from requesting time off was concerns about coverage. So to remedy that we put a floating therapist role in place and also have weekly countertransference meetings where supervisors work with clinicians to understand and prioritize self-care.  At the end of 2022, we had the highest amount of PTO taken in our 13 years, so we knew we were ready. We now have set benchmarks for PTO to ensure people are taking enough time off, which gives us an understanding of where we may need to make any adjustments. 

Rolling out this policy will continue to be an iterative learning experience and we want to keep the process transparent. We’ve had and will continue to have anonymous surveys shared with team members to gather questions and input as well as open forum discussions in our town hall meetings so that we can get feedback from our entire team.

For individuals considering working at The Dorm, what is one thing you think stands us apart?

I think we’re a great fit for clinicians who are looking for a place to grow professionally, work with clients in-person, and build connections within a community. The centerpiece of our locations are the Community Clubhouses – and they’re a benefit both to clients and clinicians. Especially if you’re a newer clinician, nothing beats being in a creative and comfy space with other colleagues collaborating, or bonding with clients over ping pong during your downtime.  When you’re in our Clubhouse spaces you don’t just see what The Dorm is all about, you feel it.

Do you or a loved one need help with mental health?

The Dorm is here.

Thanks, John! To discover open positions at The Dorm, visit: https://thedorm.com/careers/

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