What is a duvet day and should we encourage them?

History of the duvet day 

It is said that duvet days originated in the UK in 1997. August One Communications introduced the scheme that allowed employees time off that was not pre-planned or sickness. The idea behind duvet days was to reduce the number of sick days that were taken, specifically the days when an employee is ‘pulling a sickie’.

Benefits of the duvet day 

Introducing duvet days can ensure that employees feel that they are being treated with respect. As a result they become more productive in the workplace. The scheme also allows employees to avoid lying to their employers, specifically on days where they are not in the right frame of mind to work. Promoting honesty in the workplace and not lying about being ‘sick’.

Drawbacks of the duvet day 

Idleness could be encouraged, and also a lack of responsibility for overindulgence the night before might become the norm in the workplace. If the duvet day does not offer any additional perks to retain staff, then perhaps it isn’t right for your company.

Adding duvet days to your business 

To add duvet days to your business you need to think of how you will make it work and also the steps you need to take to implement it. Below is a checklist of things you need to think about:

  1. Implementing a Duvet Day Policy – new and existing employees
  2. Number of days (majority of employers offer two per year)
  3. Time of year days can be taken
  4. Days of the week that can be taken

Duvet days vs mental health days 

In 2017 an employee was praised by her employer for taking a ‘mental health’ day. (Read about this story here)

But what is the difference between a mental health day and a duvet day? 

A duvet day in essence is a day that is taken when you are not sick but would like a day to rest and recharge yourself. Mental health days are a sick day and employers are encouraged to treat time of work because of mental health the same as days taken off for physical health problems.

While it may be easier for an employee to take a duvet day or say they have food poising to avoid having a conversation about mental health, all employees should be encouraged to talk to their employer to allow for potential reasonable adjustments.

Sickness absence management 

Having an employee call in sick is frustrating but inevitable. Employees will have sickness at some time and be unable to attend the work place. Stress as a reason for sickness is difficult to manage and it is on the increase, sick notes being extended and long-term sickness situations can be frustrating to manage. Frustration can come from feeling there is nothing that you can do about this, but there is.

Employment trends for 2020

Every year we see different HR trends emerge as organisations switch their mindsets to “new year, new plan”. With this, HR are often at the heart of organisation strategies to implement these changes to help them achieve an enhanced company culture, improved their employee experience and of course achieve the much-desired sparkly employer brand.

Continue reading “Employment trends for 2020”

Keep out of the boardroom! Why are HR still on the outside looking in?

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new.”

Socrates

It seems that for too long HR leaders have been denied a seat in the majority of boardrooms. In light of the current time of uncertainty (Brexit anyone?) don’t we think it is time to bring the human back as a business priority and allow people skills to take centre stage again?

For those of us in HR, we already know that no matter what a company produces, the service it provides or even the brands the organisation represents, at the heart of it is its people.

Continue reading “Keep out of the boardroom! Why are HR still on the outside looking in?”

Working fathers need flexibility too! Encouraging gender equality in parenting

“Being a father means you have to think fast on your feet. You must be judicious, wise, brave, tender, and willing to put on a frilly hat and sit down to a pretend tea party.”

Matthew Buckley, Fatherhood: The Manliest Profession

The debate around parental leave is one that seems to be ongoing and in light of the latest British Social Attitudes survey, the results demonstrate that despite being in 2019, that there is still a strong view towards mothers taking the lead on parental leave.

Despite the shifting dynamics of UK households, a time where women have a focus upon their career and are quickly becoming the main source of income within thousands of households, it begs the question; what can we do to change the view on fathers taking time out to bring up their children equally with mothers?

Continue reading “Working fathers need flexibility too! Encouraging gender equality in parenting”

Could two million of the UK’s lowest paid workers soon be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay?

Today it has been announced that millions of the UK’s low-paid workers could become eligible for Statutory Sick Pay for the first time under new government proposals.

The Department for Work and Pensions announced that they would be consulting on new policies which it claims, could help businesses support and retain employees with disabilities and health conditions, it is proposed that this would be achieved by lowering the eligibility threshold for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

As with any changes to Government policies, this is met with both pros and cons, and today there has been plenty of debate following the announcement with multiple differing perspectives, including a rather interesting talking point on Radio Two!

Continue reading “Could two million of the UK’s lowest paid workers soon be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay?”

#CIPDACE17 Embracing The New World of Work

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Today is day one of the 70th CIPD Annual Conference and Exhibition or ACE for short which is taking place in the beautiful city of Manchester. Here is a brief summary of what we can expect from his years’ conference and don’t forget, you can follow all the activity in real time via Twitter!

Continue reading “#CIPDACE17 Embracing The New World of Work”

World Mental Health Day 2017

“Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.”

At least one in six workers experiences common mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Research conducted by leading charity Mind, shows that 55% of employees surveyed said that work is the biggest cause of stress in their lives, more so than debt or financial problems.

Mental ill-health costs the UK economy £26 billion each year, this is through 91 million lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. With such staggering figures, it is within every organisations interest to establish ways to tackle the problem. What is really concerning is not just the prevalence of stress and mental health problems at work, but that employees don’t feel supported to be able to deal with these pressures.

The main causes of mental ill health at work are excessive workload, frustration with poor management, lack of support and unrealistic targets. Stress at work is also effecting people’s personal lives. One in five employees said that it puts a strain on their relationships, while 11% have missed important events such as birthdays due to work related stress.

Prince Harry has spoken publicly about the importance of mental health awareness amongst the armed forces; not just post career but has actively campaigned for mental health to become an active part throughout their career. This has lead to a review and implementation of new training methods and support mechanisms will also be rolled out to reservists, veterans and civil servants.

The starting point can be seen as difficult, but it does not need to be. Simply taking the time to speak to a colleague or manager to tell them how you are feeling and what your concerns are can help take that first step to improving mental health. It’s the little things that make the big difference, so if you are an employee reading this, your manager needs to know that you are struggling, if it is pressures with workload, they may be able to offer a solution. Likewise, if you are a manager yourself reading this, then you need to do the same, just because you have a more senior title it does not mean that you shouldn’t be able to address your concerns.

We must always keep in mind that mental ill health does not discriminate and affects nearly everyone at some point in their lives, this is why it is so important that we start these conversations to try and remove the stigma that is associated with mental ill health.

Mental health may be a hot topic but it is a very fluid subject, one critical point is to ensure that individual cases are treated as exactly that, as an individual. Just because one person has a condition, it does not mean that the remedies and supporting tools are the same. There is no one size fits all approach and therefore businesses cannot just roll out a wellbeing initiative hoping that it will work, the subject of mental health is ongoing and will be evolving at a fast pace for many years to come.

Mind has a fantastic guide to help support employers who want to promote positive mental health within their organisations; to access the guide, please click here.