Why We Offer A Day Off For Mental Health

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10 October 2017

“Guys, I’m taking today as a mental health day off.”

It was an early Friday afternoon when I saw this message from my dear colleague in our Slack channel for #general information. I instantly got worried about her and wondered whether she’s OK and how I could help. I couldn’t show up at her door and have a chat because she works remotely from a different country. And instead of calling her and possibly pouring salt into the wound, I hit a heart icon to show my empathy and support. We spoke once she returned and felt much better.

Enhancv Why We Offer A Day Off For Mental Health mental health

Mental health is underestimated

‘’Employers who understand the link between employee well-being and organizational performance are best positioned for success in the economic recovery.’’ – David W. Ballard, PsyD., MBA

I’m lucky to work in a company that realizes that. Because of this common advantage we share, I got in touch with Madalyn, a web developer at Olark Live Chat a few months ago. She created a heated discussion on Twitter after sharing a screenshot of an email she wrote to her colleagues, together with an inspiring response from her CEO who supported her 100%. She was taking a mental health day off. It got her over 40K likes and more than 400 comments.

The comments revealed that many organizations still don’t recognize the importance of their employees’ mental health. Even more shockingly, it’s still uncommon to be direct with your coworkers about mental health issues. We decided to bring some light into what mental health means for us at Enhancv, how we communicate taking a day off for mental well-being and when it’s good to take one.

But first…

There is no shame in sharing how you feel

Today’s world encourages us to hide our weaknesses and wear an imaginary mask to hide problems and struggles behind. In his book Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux explains that “… historically, organizations have been places where people showed up wearing a mask or a uniform. While you wear this uniform, you don’t fully belong to yourself.”

At Enhancv, we try to create a culture that’s quite the opposite. We put a lot of effort into creating a workplace that motivates each of us to be themselves, and to talk about the good, the bad, and even the embarrassing. And implementing regular one-on-one meetings and 360 feedback have helped with that.

“Given identity is tied to work, being recognized and appreciated makes employees feel valued and boosts sense of self and self-esteem, which is protective in terms of depression and anxiety.”Dr. Gail Saltz

Read about how we killed our HR department and started focusing on Employee Success instead here.

Mental health days off at Enhancv

There’s a stigma around mental health days off, and it makes people think that taking one equals being depressed. But mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. If one of those areas gets disrupted by any life event, it can affect how we think, feel, act, how we handle stress, and make choices. Which means taking a day off to recover from feeling unwell mentally is the best thing we can do to prevent a potential disaster.

So what situations can a mental health day off be used for at Enhancv? We offer an additional day off which we can take on top of our statutory holiday. And we take it when we have personal issues, anxiety, or conflict with co-workers. Also, if one of us wants to restart, reevaluate things, and refresh. We believe that if it prevents you from completing your work, you should stay at home,  recover, and come back when you feel 100%. Just like you do when you’re down with the flu or other physical problems.

Happy World Mental Health Day!

10th October is a day when we celebrate mental health. Considering that one in six workers experiences depression, anxiety or unmanageable stress according to Mind’s research, it’s a  topic we should all talk more about. We are proud that offering an extra mental health day off has been a part of our company culture.

Have you ever taken a day off to recharge? How did your colleagues react? Let us know in the comments.

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