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Everyone Should Get Behind What This Company Is Doing For Its Staff’s Mental Health

This week, 100 Thieves, a lifestyle and apparel brand took a company wide one-week vacation for summer break, citing how working in esports can be a “year long grind.” All employees will be off this week and will be off another week in the winter in addition to each individual’s time off.

100 Thieves isn’t the only company to partake in company-wide vacations. Recently, HootSuite also announced they’ll be taking a week off. They claimed “our collective mental health is suffering” as a result of struggling with COVID-19 life changes, lockdowns, BLM protests and increased time spent in a digital world. HootSuite talked about the increase in “depression, anxiety, loneliness and uncertainty” as part of the reason they decided to take this collective pause.

This year has been a lot for everyone. And most of us feel like we’re drowning more often than ever before. When we consider how much time we spend working per week, it’s becoming increasingly important that companies recognize the toll the past year has taken on our mental health and offer additional support. Not just because having a mentally healthy workforce is better for productivity and outcomes, but because it’s the right thing to do and we all need to step up for each other right now, workplaces included. 

A couple of weeks ago, Bumble also announced their employees would be on a week long vacation to “de-stress” and recover from all the stress and burn out brought on by the impacts of COVID-19. Burn out has become a default state of operating for many of us over the past year as we go through the motions of zoom meetings, endless emails and the dreaded notification tone of an instant message from a boss or coworker. The lines between work and home life have blurred as we transformed our dining tables into makeshift offices and nine to fives drifted from view.

We live in a capitalist society that demands productivity from us at all times, and glamorizes hustling and grinding. Room for rest feels like it gets smaller and smaller with each day as life gets more expensive and salaries don’t increase. Grind culture can be so detrimental to a person’s mental health with no room for rest and rejuvenation, and taking a collective pause/rest/break/vacation can be beneficial for improving our attitude and energy.

There are significant benefits to companies making these vacations mandatory:

1. It removes the guilt of being off 

Many folks feel guilty about taking their well earned vacation, and the company making these breaks mandatory can reduce that.

2. Things don’t pile up as much 

The stress of coming back after a vacation to an overflowing inbox with piled up work can undo the relaxation from the vacation. The work doesn’t stop on vacation — it just gets delayed. With everyone on vacation, everything else is paused letting employees come back and not scramble to catch up.

3. It sets a precedent that the company values rest and breaks. 

It says “slow down, breathe, disconnect” and there’s a lot to learn from that. Companies often encourage vacation but then punish employees when they take it — with mandatory company wide weeks off, a clear message is being sent that this break is needed.

More often than ever before, companies are starting to listen to what their employees need and want. They’re starting to recognize that when we come to work, we can’t leave our personal lives at the door and remote work has blurred the professional and personal more. We can’t pretend the world is OK when it’s not, we can’t pretend employees are OK when they are not. Companies have a responsibility and an obligation to not further harm or traumatize their people, especially after a year like this and it’s refreshing to see some companies starting to take that seriously.

Work-life balance doesn’t look like it did 30 years ago, where when you left work it couldn’t follow you home. As such, the way we make space for rest and rejuvenation has to change, too. Maybe it means more company wide vacations, maybe it means truly disconnecting from our email and work when we are offline. Either way, we were never meant to work without ever turning off, every day, every year, and it’s no wonder people are burnt out, tired, anxious, depressed and worn down. We can learn a lot from these examples of collective rest and recovery, and encourage our companies to prioritize it the way these companies have.

If you’re feeling stressed, traumatized and burnt out with having to perform productively for the past year, you’re not the only one. Take that vacation you’ve been thinking about, take that break, turn those notifications off, get some fresh air. You deserve rest. You deserve to pause.

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of @100TNadeshot on Twitter

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