Affinity Living Group furloughed 70 corporate employees and let go of several company leaders, including Neil Lail, its chief operating officer, on Monday.

The changes were part of the company’s ongoing strategy toward decentralization, putting an emphasis on oversight at the community level and supporting teams at the local level to provide the best possible resident care, James Harvey, Affinity’s vice president of public relations and communications, told McKnight’s Senior Living. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the company’s actions related to this ongoing strategy, Harvey added. 

“This was a bold leadership move [taken] in response to the ‘new normal’ we are seeing industries across America come to grips with,” Harvey said. “We are having to adapt our practices to the current trajectory and make changes so that we can continue to serve our vulnerable population, and for us that resulted in expediting structural changes to help improve our efficiencies.”

Harvey added that direct resident care opportunities at Affinity’s 160 independent living, assisted living and memory care communities spread throughout the U.S. Southeast were offered to all of the furloughed workers, and several of them are now transitioning into those roles.

“We are even helping one of our former sales directors get the training needed to fulfill a lifelong goal: Becoming an executive director for one of our communities,” Harvey said.