The giant sportswear brand, Nike, closed all of its offices worldwide for one week. Their objective was to promote the well-being and mental health of their employees, providing them additional time to rest.
The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía Pizano
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Matt Marazzo, who is a senior manager for the Beaverton, Oregon Headquarters, publicly announced on LinkedIn, that the break would take place. His message read as follows:
"Our senior leaders are all sending a clear message: Take the time to unwind, de-stress and spend time with your loved ones. Do not work," he wrote. "It’s not just a ‘week off’ for the team … It’s an acknowledgment that we can prioritize mental health and still get work done. 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."
The mentioned break was celebrated by those who work at Nike. However, KWG, which is the NBC affiliate in Portland, serving Oregan and Southwest Washington, called a Nike Retail Store, and the person who answered said that they hadn't heard about the paid time off. This motivated an associate professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, Liz Tippet, to mention that the fact that all employees were not allowed to take the time off, sent a message about what kind of workers the brand cares for.
According to Marazzo, Nike’s decision to provide the time off was made to encourage employees to prioritize their mental health and to de-stress and spend time with their loved ones. Other companies, such as Bumble, LinkedIn, Intel, Marriott, and Mozilla have also recently offered their employees extra time off to improve mental health. Linkedin gave its workers an extra paid week off during April. Teuila Hanson, who is Linkedin’s chief people officer mentioned "We wanted to make sure we could give them something really valuable, and what we think is most valuable right now is time for all of us to collectively walk away."
Other initiatives by companies from the private sector, include child care, remote work, four-day workweeks, and even five-hour days. After the rise in new COVID-19 cases due to the Delta Variant, companies such as Apple and Blackrock moved their plans to bring employees back to work at their offices. In May, Nike announced that it would bring employees back to work at their Headquarters in September with an opportunity to work from home two days per week.
It is worth highlighting that in 2019, the World Health Organization recognized workplace burnout as an occupational phenomenon. This is a memorable recognition since it is the first time a global health agency, mentioned work burnout as a work hazard. It is also important because one of its implications is that workers may seek professional medical assistance for something besides illness or a health condition.
Nike has been actively promoting a destigmatization of mental health issues, which is why it teamed up with Crisis Text Line to promote a conversation around the importance of mental health and to expand the direct line of support to those that need it. This move by the sportswear brand is sending a powerful message to the world, that mental health should be a priority even if productivity has to be sacrificed for a while. The Company’s policy is an applauded decision since employees are needing more motivation and new energy during the COVID-19 pandemic.