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.

Brightening up Blue Monday

A bit of fun to start our working week! It is safe to say that we can all pretty much agree that Monday is not the most exciting day of a week, and it is always hard to get back into the swing of things at work after a nice relaxing weekend.

Today is labelled “Blue Monday” which is officially declared as the most depressing day of the year (unless you really didn’t grab that essential Black Friday purchase of course!)

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Take time to look up once in a while!

“Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.”

Walt Disney

One common question I get asked all the time when I’m talking about my blog is “how do you find inspiration to write about all this stuff?”

Firstly, there is always a deep meaning behind every one of my published blog posts (there’s over 200 of them now!) and whilst it is not intended to be positive vibes everywhere, it is just how it has turned out, being a naturally positive person gives it direction which comes through naturally in my work. Secondly it helps to be passionate about the subject matter, you never know how you might inspire others through your experiences, this is something I never take for granted.

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July reflections

“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting upon our experiences”

John Dewey

What a month July has been! We’ve seen plenty of sunshine and despite the soaring temperatures, I am continuing to focus upon my development both in my personal and professional life.

Sometimes it is easy to give advice rather than taking your own, and often I don’t reflect as much as I feel I should. So after reflecting on all of my goings on over the past month, it has really helped me to hit the refresh button as I begin to prepare for my CIPD exam in September so August is already looking pretty hectic but I now realise that saying no can sometimes be a good thing!

Reflection is not about beating yourself up or being overly critical, it is about identifying how we can improve things. If we remain static, we are not learning anything and those vital experiences can get lost amongst the busyness of our daily lives, so after a rocky few months, I am finally feeling much more focused and keen to improve in all areas of my life.

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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?

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What is imposter syndrome and how can you overcome it?

“We all have doubts in our abilities, about our power and what that power is”

Michelle Obama

Do you ever feel like a fraud? Are you ever overcome with feelings of doubt in respect of your capabilities at work? If so, then you could be one of the thousands of people who experience imposter syndrome.

I have just finished reading Michelle Obama’s book for the second time and this particular subject, whilst it certainly isn’t new, is one that so many overlook and it can be a really confidence knock. It was a part of her book that really resonated with me, many times in my career I have experienced not being taken seriously, that led me to think that there is a problem with how I present myself to others.

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How can HR support those struggling with mental health?

“People are scared to talk about it, but they should be scared about not talking about it.”

Prince Harry

There is currently a lot of buzz around the subject of mental health, but whilst we debate about it, how can we really get to grips with managing mental health within our organisations?

This post is just a simple outline of how you can start to structure those trickier conversations and allow people to speak openly about their mental health at work. It is important to remember that the steps towards positive mental health cultures begin with creating a safe space within our organisations.

Continue reading “How can HR support those struggling with mental health?”