The world has changed in more ways than one in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to focus on the mental and physical well-being of people is being addressed by government agencies and private organisations across the world. In a striking example of this, sneaker and apparel giant Nike has awarded staff at its head office in Oregon a week’s break before they return to the office in September.
The week away from work is aimed at giving employees an opportunity to “destress”. Explaining the intent behind the initiative, Matt Marrazzo, Nike’s Senior Manager of Global Marketing Science, said that it was the “right thing to do.”
In a post shared on LinkedIn, Mr Marrazzo wrote, “In just about an hour, teams at Nike will start closing their laptops for our regular Summer Friday hours. But today is extra special. Nike HQ is also powering down for a full week off starting next Monday.”
“Our senior leaders are all sending a clear message: Take the time to unwind, destress and spend time with your loved ones. Do not work,” Mr Marrazzo added.
He said that it was the need of the hour, given that we have all lived through a “traumatic event”. “This past year has been rough – we’re all human and living through a traumatic event! – but I’m hopeful that the empathy and grace we continue to show our teammates will have a positive impact on the culture of work moving forward,” Mr Marrazzo said.
“It’s not just a “week off” for the team… It’s an acknowledgement that we can prioritise mental health and still get work done,” he said at the end of the note, “Support your people. It’s good business but it’s also the right thing to do.”
The initiative was applauded by people on the platform. One user by the name Larissa Green said, “We hope this extends to the production teams worldwide as well, but an incredibly necessary and strong first leadership step to being radically human and allowing business to flow at the pace of life.”
Earlier, Bumble, the online dating application, granted 700 people a week off to destress and prevent burnout. LinkedIn, too, granted its employees time off for a week in April for their wellness.