The one perk leaders need to be giving their burned out teams

Asia's Tech News Daily

Several years ago, a small group of technology companies and startups introduced a phenomenon soon to spread like wildfire: unlimited PTO. It started as a trickle, but soon became a popular way for companies to attract and retain talent and reward employees with well-earned time off. In fact, a 2019 Metlife employee benefits trends survey found that unlimited paid time off was the top emerging benefit that interested the employees surveyed. 

Now, in the wake of a difficult year that put strain on many, companies are recognizing the importance of another phenomenon: investing in employee mental health. In fact, we recently commissioned a wide-ranging study of more than 1,700 business leaders, HR leaders, managers, and employees with Forrester Consulting. We found that 64% of manager and non-manager employees rank a flexible and supportive culture over a higher salary and are prepared to change jobs to find it. For some, a supportive and flexible culture means providing therapy and coaching to staff or investing in memberships for meditation apps. Many companies are also beginning to offer time off to help employees decompress and prevent burnout. 

Employers need to prioritize mental health because it’s good for business, and one easy way to do this is through mental health days. But don’t fall victim to the most common and detrimental mistake: pairing time off for mental health with PTO. This can send the wrong message. Unlimited or generous PTO is still incredibly popular and certainly worth including in your company’s benefits package, but it is no substitute for dedicated mental health time.

We should be encouraging employees to not only take PTO to unwind with family or go on vacation but we should also be acknowledging that employees also may need time specifically to avoid burnout or to focus on their mental health.  As leaders, I believe it is critical that we carve out extra days for mental health maintenance, setting the tone for more balanced work culture and ultimately creating a new workplace standard that prioritizes health and wellbeing. Here’s why. 

What is PTO really for?

Paid time off is arguably the foundational benefit in the benefits stack today, a reward for hard work and an encouragement for employees to foster work-life balance. While not federally mandated, many corporate employers recognize that not offering PTO can be a major deterrent to hiring and retention efforts. Whether it’s used for vacation, time with family, or simply recharging, PTO has quite rightly become a relative standard for knowledge-based work in the U.S. 

However, if mental health days are folded into PTO,  the real meaning of PTO is lost. That time, which is meant for employees to use however they see fit, is suddenly relegated to caring for a critical component of their health. Similar to primary care, mental health is a core piece of our overall well-being, one that takes proactive engagement all year round. We’d never encourage employees to use their PTO to see a doctor – so why should mental health be any different? Plus, while PTO is often heavily planned for and communicated in advance, you can’t plan for a mental health setback. Mental health days can and should be taken when the need arises, whether an employee is feeling overwhelmed or experiencing acute wellbeing issues. 

Breaking the stigma at work

Truthfully mental health days have always been around, just under the guise of being “out sick” or having a “family emergency.” In fact, according to Deloitte, 95% of employees who have taken time off due to stress named another reason, such as an upset stomach or headache. The difference is now some companies are encouraging employees to openly express themselves and their needs. Perhaps the largest benefit of the mental health day trend is the conversation it has sparked around mental health at work. For instance, just recently, Japan announced a proposed 4-day work week as part of its annual economic policy guidelines, a countermeasure to the plummeting birth rates and mental health crisis attributed to poor work-life balance.

While no one bats an eye when an employee shares that they’re taking PTO, the unfortunate reality of the modern workplace is that mental health stigma persists—and it’s getting in the way of progress. It’s still far less common to receive a vulnerable email from a colleague saying they’re taking a mental health day. A survey from The Hartford of worldwide employees showed that 72% say the stigma associated with mental illness prevents many U.S. workers from seeking help. Additionally, our research found most managers (63%) and more than half (60%) of employees felt the major events of the last 12-15 months affected them but also felt they had to leave it out of their work life. So, while we’re moving in the right direction, we’re not there yet. 

That said, if we as a collective workforce don’t get more comfortable talking about mental health in the workplace, we’re unlikely to see real progress toward alleviating burnout and stress in this country. While COVID-19 led to an increased emphasis on mental health worldwide, our research suggests some companies still haven’t caught up. Half of the leaders surveyed said employee benefits for mental health were not available in the past and therefore should not be a priority today. And a staggering 80% of C-suite leaders and nearly three-quarters (73%) of HR leaders say employees today expect too much mental health support from their employers. Lumping mental health days with PTO brushes them under the rug and keeps mental health “hush-hush” as it has long been in corporate America. While it’s important to not pressure employees to speak out if they don’t want to, separating the two categories will help us achieve the changes we’ve worked so hard to make after COVID. 

Setting the tone

After the year we’ve had, it’s no wonder our culture is facing a mental health epidemic.  Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, about four in 10 adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from one in 10 adults who reported these symptoms from January to June 2019. 

As business leaders, we have an imperative to support our employees and help them thrive both at work and outside of it – not only because it’s the right thing to do or because it impacts productivity, but because we have the opportunity and influence to catalyze lasting cultural change. The way we structure and lead our organizations has a tangible impact on individuals and our concept of work. If we assume employees will simply take vacation when they need to manage their mental health needs we’re setting the wrong tone for future generations of leaders. Let’s carve out both options for employees so that they can use both PTO and mental health days accordingly. 

The first step is encouraging employees to invest in their mental health by mandating separate mental health benefits. But we know that mental health days alone are just a band-aid over a larger, systemic issue. Large-scale change to our workplace culture may start with mental health days in addition to PTO, but it’s up to us to ultimately build the kinds of businesses that employees don’t burn out from. These seemingly small workplace policy changes can and will create profound change if we take the initiative. 

Alyson Watson is the CEO and founder of Modern Health

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Democracy activist Law urges Hong Kong voters to ignore Dec. 19 election

FILE PHOTO: Pro-democracy activist Nathan Law is interviewed by journalists outside the Final Court of Appeal after being granted bail in Hong Kong LONDON (Reuters) – Hong Kong democracy activist ... Read more »

Antony Sher on acting: ‘You have simply got to be honest'

Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian Antony Sher was not only a superb performer but also an insightful observer on the craft of acting and the theatre – as shown in these ... Read more »

Omicron may be driving S Africa's surge; wary world watches

1 / 12Virus Outbreak South AfricaAn Orange Farm, South Africa, resident receives her jab against COVID-19 Friday Dec. 3, 2021 at the Orange Farm multipurpose center. South Africa has accelerated ... Read more »

More than a dozen arrested in connection with Los Angeles smash-and-grab thefts

More than a dozen people have been arrested for coordinating a series of tandem smash-and-grab thefts across the City of Los Angeles. Overall, more than $340,000 worth of items were ... Read more »

Hawaii under blizzard warning as 12 inches of snow and winds up to 100 mph expected

The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning until Sunday morning on the Big Island of Hawaii. The warning remains in effect from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. ... Read more »

Equity lens for COVID-19 shots critical amid holidays and omicron concern, experts say

The threat of omicron is underscoring the importance of vaccination and boosters against COVID-19, especially for people of color who have disproportionately suffered during the pandemic. The Biden administration points ... Read more »

Sri Lanka reports 1st omicron case in returnee from Nigeria

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka announced Friday it has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in an unvaccinated person who returned from Nigeria. Health ... Read more »

New Kenny G doc explores his massive success and criticism

The Associated PressThis image released by HBO shows Kenny G. in a scene from the documentary “Listening to Kenny G,” streaming Dec. 2 on HBO Max. (HBO via AP) NEW ... Read more »

Ky. still doesn't track any domestic violence statistics. It's time for that to change.

On Nov. 9, Erica Burden, just 27 years old, dropped her daughter off at school in Hart County. Then she disappeared. Two days later, her estranged husband, William Burden, was ... Read more »

Man shoots at Dollar General workers when gift card doesn't work, Kentucky cops say

A man opened fire on Dollar General workers after an Uber gift card he purchased at the store was not working, according to Kentucky police. The barrage of gunfire luckily ... Read more »

Suspect arrested in killing of Jacqueline Avant, philanthropist and wife of music exec Clarence Avant

Police in Beverly Hills have made an arrest in the Wednesday killing of Jacqueline Avant, a philanthropist and wife of prominent music executive Clarence Avant. Aariel Maynor, 29, of Los ... Read more »

Nvidia metaverse future bright even as Arm may slip from grasp

FILE PHOTO: The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara By Nivedita Balu (Reuters) – Nvidia Corp's dreams of acquiring British chip technology provider ... Read more »

52-year-old man shot to death in Arden; woman charged with murder

A woman has been charged in the shooting death of an Asheville man late Dec. 2. Darrin Sean Tinsley, 52, was found dead at a home off Morgan Cove Road ... Read more »

Billie Eilish changes her hair again: See the star's blonde to brunette transformation

The “Ocean Eyes” remain the same but the hair has changed again for Billie Eilish. Eilish made her music debut with silver hair in 2016, became a household name while ... Read more »

Slovakia's COVID-19 case record inflated by system glitch

FILE PHOTO: Slovakia enters two-week lockdown amid rise in COVID-19 cases PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovakia reported 15,278 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the highest number in a single day since ... Read more »

Valneva says no conclusions to be drawn on its COVID shot from UK booster study

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Valneva SE is pictured at the company’s headquarters in Saint-Herblain PARIS (Reuters) – French biotech firm Valneva said on Friday that no conclusions should be ... Read more »

Missouri Withheld Data Showing Effectiveness of Mask Mandates

A shopper wears a face mask inside a store in St. Louis, July 27, 2021. (Whitney Curtis/The New York Times) Mask mandates were effective as the delta variant of the ... Read more »

Dutch say passengers from S.Africa have COVID despite pre-flight test

Dutch health authorities find 61 passengers who arrived from South Africa as COVID-19 positive, in Amsterdam By Toby Sterling AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Dutch health authorities said on Friday they were ... Read more »

Keefe ready for Coventry Blaze in Challenge Cup test

Having qualified top of their group in the first round, the Giants face the Blaze on the road in their first clash at the Skydome Arena on Wednesday 8th December, ... Read more »

Growth in US service sector reaches new heights in November

The Associated PressWaiter Juan Rodrigues, left, asks patrons to show their vaccination cards before entering the Fred 62 restaurant in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, Monday, Nov. 29, ... Read more »

Duggar trial focusing on computer where child porn was found

On Location: December 3, 2021 Catch up on the developing stories making headlines.The Associated Press FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A desktop computer found with child pornography at former reality TV star ... Read more »

WHO says no evidence yet to support tailoring COVID-19 vaccines to Omicron

Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO attends a news conference on the Ebola outbreak at the United Nations in Geneva (Reuters) – The World Health Organization's emergencies director, Mike Ryan, ... Read more »

Polish T-Mobile unit faces cyber attack, systems not compromised

FILE PHOTO: A T-Mobile logo is seen on the storefront door of a store in Manhattan WARSAW (Reuters) – The Polish unit of T-Mobile said on Friday it had faced ... Read more »

Anchorage couple sentenced on federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges

Dec. 3—Two Anchorage residents have been sentenced to years in prison after pleading guilty to selling methamphetamine and violating federal banking rules by concealing the profits. May Saelee, 47, and ... Read more »

Sioux Falls man arrested after Giliberto's shooting sees more charges, bond amount doubled

Police respond to the scene of a shooting outside Giliberto‘s restaurant on S. Minnesota Avenue in Sioux Falls early Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. UPDATE: Isaac Wali's bond has been reinstated ... Read more »

Belgium tightens curbs, but avoids lockdown as COVID cases peak

1 / 3Belgium tightens curbs, but avoids lockdown as COVID cases peakPeople wearing protective masks walk on a street, following the government’s restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus ... Read more »

1 dead after fire erupts inside a beachfront Fort Lauderdale condo, police say

One person was killed in a fire that sparked inside a unit at a beachfront high-rise condominium in Fort Lauderdale early Friday, police said. The fire was reported around 1 ... Read more »

'You can't devolve into paranoia': What experts are saying as string of follow-home robberies jar LA

LOS ANGELES — The brazen attacks couldn't be more frightening. You’re having dinner at a fine-dining restaurant or strolling in an upscale neighborhood, then drive home. But little do you ... Read more »

Man accused of putting razor blades and screws into pizza dough sentenced to prison

PORTLAND, Maine — A man accused of putting razor blades and screws in pizza dough at supermarkets in Maine and New Hampshire was sentenced Thursday to four years and nine ... Read more »

Prosecutor considers charging parents of Michigan school shooting suspect: What we know

DETROIT — A Michigan prosecutor is set to hold a news conference Friday as she considers whether to charge the parents of the 15-year-old accused of fatally shooting four students ... Read more »

Germany arrests suspected Libyan extremist

BERLIN — German authorities have arrested a 29-year-old man on suspicion of being part of a Libyan extremist group and extorting money through kidnappings, officials said Friday. Federal prosecutors said ... Read more »

Belgium tightens virus rules again as hospitals suffer

BRUSSELS — Belgium must tighten its coronavirus restrictions another notch as the latest surge in cases weighs heavily on health services and deprives people with other life-threatening diseases like cancer ... Read more »

Omicron Triggers ‘Unprecedented' COVID Surge Hitting Under 5s in South Africa

EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images The “highly transmissible” Omicron variant of coronavirus ripping through South Africa is putting disproportionately large numbers of children under the age of 5 years old ... Read more »

Is it good to visit the Grand Canyon in the winter? Here's what it's like

Winter is coming to the Grand Canyon. Cold, crisp air combined with snow atop red and orange rock formations are highlights of visiting at this time of the year. There ... Read more »

Week 14 college football picks, bold predictions: Championship weekend to decide playoff

It all comes down to this. Four, well, three spots in the College Football Playoff will be on the line in the final weekend of the regular season. The reason ... Read more »

Omicron detected in 5 states as Biden unveils new plan, MLB on hold: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Omicron detected in 5 states as Biden unveils new plan White House correspondent Maureen Groppe reports on what President Joe Biden aims ... Read more »

2-month-old killed by father as mother was hospitalized with COVID, Oklahoma cops say

A 25-year-old man is charged with murder after Oklahoma officials accused him of causing fatal injuries to his 2-month-old son who was born prematurely. The alleged abuse by Colten Thompson ... Read more »

Megan Stalter review – a true star turn from the super-silly comic

Photograph: Tristram Kenton/the Guardian ‘You guys are a horrible audience!” Like Patti Harrison at this address a few weeks ago, or US compatriot Kate Berlant, Megan Stalter doesn’t think it’s ... Read more »

Extra police are at high school in Cary following rumors about a student bringing a gun

Extra police are at Green Hope High School in Cary on Friday following rumors about a student bringing a gun to the campus. In a message sent Thursday night to ... Read more »

Virginia House recount resumes; could affirm GOP majority

1 / 3Election 2021 Virginia HouseDel. Cia Price, D-Newport News, left, Del. Alex Askew, D-Virginia Beach, center, and Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, D-Prince William, right, confer during the floor session ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic