By Aoife Hanna
Nike has offered staff in their Oregan head office a week off to focus on their mental health after what's undeniably been an incredibly difficult time for us all.
As a company that prides itself for its innovation, there's no surprise that they've gone one step further. In the same year that Nike shines with a new sustainable move to give your old shoes a makeover—they're giving their professional priorities a rejig too.
The announcement was shared by the Nike senior manager of global marketing science, Matt Marrazzo, in an open message to staff posted on LinkedIn.
He said, "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."
Explaining the sports giant's move, he went on to say it's all to do with what's best for staff and performance in the long run.
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"It's times like this that I'm so grateful to be a part of this team. In a year (or two) unlike any other, taking time for rest and recovery is key to performing well and staying sane."
The company's decision is of course in relation to the ravages of the pandemic and how it's affected mental as well as physical wellbeing.
"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."
Matt continued, "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."
The passionate senior manager finished with a stirring call to action saying, "Support your people. It's good business but it's also the right thing to do."
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Nike isn't the first company to focus on, "the right thing to do," and is in fact following suit after other companies laid foundations for increased mental health awareness.
Dating giant Bumble, for example, announced in April 2021, "that all Bumble employees will have a paid, fully offline one-week vacation in June." The BBC reported at the time that one senior executive tweeted that Bumble's, "founder Whitney Wolfe Herd had made the move 'having correctly intuited our collective burnout.'"
It's no surprise considering increasingly concerning statistics emerging regarding the ever-growing mental health crisis which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. A study by the CDC found that symptoms of anxiety and depression increased massively during the pandemic, particularly between August 2020 and February 2021.
One Twitter user commented, "It’s so important to look after your mental health, but you can’t properly do that without the support of your workplace. Well done @Nike."
Another added, "Rumor has it @Nike is letting corporate take a week off for mental health. Love this. Hey, other companies #justdoit"
However, for many, this isn't enough of a move by the international brand. One Twitter user said, "Sounds great, but get back to me when Nike extends this benefit to its retail store employees and factory workers."
Another added, "Nike is the next company to give corporate staff a week off for mental health. Another company following the herd. Instead of mental health days, create a culture that promotes whole-body health always. Plus if anybody needs it, it's retail staff, not highly paid Corp employees."
Aoife is Junior News Editor at woman&home.
She's an Irish journalist and writer with over 1500 bylines and a background in creative writing, comedy and TV production.
Formerly Aoife was a contributing writer at Bustle and her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica, EVOKE and her poetry features in the soon-to-be-published Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.
Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, hot yoga studio, lifting heavy weights or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.
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