A recent study into ‘duvet days’ across the UK suggests that employees are feeling increasingly stressed, with 61 percent admitting that they have taken a ‘duvet day’ from work in order to recuperate. Contributor Jonathan Warren, Director – Time 4 Sleep.
Bed and sleep specialist, Time 4 Sleep, has considered the benefits of duvet days and found that they’re more important than you might think to your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. The research found that the main reason for UK employees taking a duvet day, a day taken from work to recuperate when they are not ‘physically sick’, is when they’re feeling tired, with 36 percent of people stating that this is the reason they would consider taking a day off.
This was closely followed by feeling stressed and anxious (33 percent) and not being in the right frame of mind (20 percent). The study found that 65 percent of UK workers would also be more inclined to take a job with a company that offered duvet days as part of their contract.
The types of professionals that are most likely to take a duvet day from work were revealed too. Those working in IT came top of the list, with 78 percent admitting that they had taken a day off for some time out. They were closely followed by directors/company owners (75 percent) and doctors, nurses and dentists (73 percent).
What’s more, HR workers were more likely to take a day off due to stress and anxiety than any other profession (43 percent). This is compared with only 17 percent of lawyers and 18 percent of those working in the building profession.
It’s no surprise that duvet days are on the increase, with 34 percent of people believing that they are a good idea, and 36 percent stating that they help with stress and anxiety levels.
Managing director at OriGym, and previous owner of a recruitment company, Luke Hughes, discusses why duvet days are often now part of an employee’s contract.
Luke said: “In short, a duvet day is a written clause in an employment contract allowing an employee to call their work and take a day of leave without having to give reason or prior notice. They are usually built into an employee’s annual holiday allowance, meaning that when the employee takes a duvet day, it doesn’t come out of their specified holiday dates.
“Generally, duvet days are offered to entice highly skilled graduates, and can be advertised as a perk of working for an organisation. This is especially true of millennial workers, particularly in a western society where flexible working and informal office spaces have proliferated.” From an employer’s perspective, a working environment that is flexible and supportive to its staff creates a happier and more productive workforce.
David Hallam, managing director at OrderWise, a supply chain and warehousing software specialist based in Lincolnshire, said: “As an employer we want to provide an environment that offers our staff stimulating employment, but also benefits in terms of wellbeing and a work/life balance.
“We feel that incentives help to demonstrate the company’s gratitude for their service and hard work and form a valuable part of overall employee benefits. Staff definitely appreciate the option to be able to work in a more convenient way.”
Time 4 Sleep also looked into the other perks that make a job more attractive to employees and found the top five to be:
- Flexible working including late starts and early finishes (62 percent)
- A day off for a birthday (51 percent)
- Free food (48 percent)
- Discount to healthcare (38 percent)
- The opportunity to take a sabbatical (a period away from work, agreed by your employer) (32 percent)
Jonathan Warren, director at Time 4 Sleep, said: “It seems that people are beginning to take their mental health and wellbeing much more seriously, with duvet days becoming more prevalent in the UK. “It was interesting to see just how many people would be more likely to take a job based on the fact that it offered duvet days as part of its employment contract. Looking after your mental health is so important, especially in stressful environments such as the workplace. If you think a member of your team has been a little stressed recently, the opportunity to take some time out at home might just make all the difference in helping them to feel refreshed and, in turn, more productive.”