In the media

Is a week’s holiday the key to better workplace mental health?

By Robert Van Egghen

FT Ignites Europe

13 September 2021

PA Consulting’s people and talent expert, Chris Manning, discusses how employers can avoid staff burnout.

The article discusses how some companies, such as Nike and Bumble, have given their staff paid time off work to look after their mental health.

Chris says that while giving staff some enforced time off “helps by temporarily switching off the new “always on” mentality, it is not a long-term solution to these new ways of working”.

He adds: “It’s imperative that employers do not lapse back into old approaches toward mental health – whereby there is little acceptance or structural support available to staff.

“It is also clear that the current reactive hybrid working models are not set up for success, based on the burnout that many are experiencing.”

Chris goes on to say that firms adopting hybrid working models will need to ensure arrangements are suited to the needs of all employees “depending on the type of work, location and lifestyle of the employee at that point in their life”.

A poorly-managed transition back to some form of office-based working could end up exacerbating mental health issues among employees.

Chris continues: “To embed a culture of prioritising mental health, employers must set up the infrastructure and technology to utilise data to manage it properly over the long term and enable personalisation at work with the understanding that everyone is different.

“Employers should avoid seeking short term answers to burnout and assuming that mental health management can be a “one-size-fits-all” approach.”

Chris adds that companies will need to “plan in preventative actions to support mental health and wellbeing” so they can detect issues early on before the situation worsens.

“Mental health management should be more than offering employees a week off when things get too much; it needs to be about managing wellbeing over the long term and empowering people to have the confidence to seek support at any time,” he says.

Read the full article in FT Ignites Europe

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