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Benefits of Implementing Mental Health Days at Work

Whether you see employees spiraling deeper into stress, or notice some that have worked so hard and deserve an afternoon off, implementing a policy for mental health days at work can support your employees’ overall health and well-being in addition to increasing productivity and cultural camaraderie. Read on to learn some of the benefits of mental health days like reducing burnout, increasing employee happiness, expanding employee recognition, and boosting your retention. 

Reduce Employee Burnout

Problems associated with employment or unemployment can lead to employee burnout which can cause emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion.

The Institute of Stress found that “35% [of workers] say their jobs are harming their physical or emotional health and 42% say job pressures are interfering with their personal relationships.” The ability to help combat workplace stress and burnout through offering a benefit of mental health paid time off days would help support the employee satisfaction of getting to take a break when they most need it.

Increase Employee Happiness & Productivity

Employee happiness is crucial to the success of your business. Studies show that when employees’ happiness increases, so does their productivity. Another study shows that vacation time decreases employee stress and burnout. Therefore, one way to increase happiness, productivity, and reduce burnout would be to implement time off programs. Gifting mental health days at work directly supports this effort. 

Add Employee Recognition

In addition to productivity, employee happiness also supports retention, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and your overall brand. But oftentimes, it’s difficult to gather creative ideas for employee appreciation and recognition that will be received well from any person. 

Providing mental health days at work offers employees an opportunity to take off a few hours early or take a Friday off.  This wouldn’t cost the company extra dollars and allows for the employee to choose how they spend this valuable time.

Boost Employee Retention

Two additional ways to increase employee retention are to offer flexibility and a competitive benefits package. Providing flexible time off supports this need. Employees value additional time off that doesn’t deduct from their traditional vacation days. Also, when employees feel the effects of burnout, the likelihood they will look for a new job is higher. By reducing the chances of employee burnout by offering flexible time off, you will increase your opportunity for better retention rates. 

How to Roll out Mental Health Days at Work

There are a few ways you could roll out the benefit of adding mental health days at work.  The first would be to introduce the program to management and supervisors with direct reports and allow them the ability to “gift” their direct reports with time off within certain limitations. This could be based on employee performance and/or the need for a break if the supervisor detects signs of burnout.  

Another way could be to expand the Paid Time Off section in your handbook, notating all of the details on if these hours should be provided only by management or if the employee can request them, the frequency and length of time (2 days or 16 hours in a quarter, or up to one full workday or 8 hours at a time).

In honor of World Mental Health Day this month, consider some policies or improvements you might make to your policies or culture to support overall organizational wellness.