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Addressing Burnout – unlimited time off

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been properly managed”. Burnout is frequently cited in surveys about mental health and wellbeing.

In an initiative to address this, a city stockbroker (FinnCap) has given their employees unlimited time off from next year in order to try and prevent staff burnout. In doing so they recognise there have been heightened demands from their clients due to volatile capital markets. The chief executive Sam Smith understands that “burnout is not easily resolved by  a two-week holiday… but by properly changing the way you work”. She highlights that the company had started to notice how much mental health strain employees were under in February this year. Staff have worked long hours at home through the pandemic and she suggests that “lines between work and life have become blurred”.

In order to try and help employees, the company are insisting staff will need to take at least four weeks a year off, to include some days each quarter. In addition, in order utilise this time for real relaxation they have issued certain activities that do not count as part of the four weeks, e.g. visits to the vet, caring duties or a broken boiler!

FinnCap are not the only employer in the last year to help employees combat workplace stress. Other strategies are being introduced, such as temporarily closing offices. One company, Belmont Packaging in Wigan are pioneering what many believe could be the future: the four-day week. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/four-day-week-uk-trial-b1964714.html

At Jonathan’s Voice our guide Protecting your mental health and wellbeing has been designed to help professionals take care of their mental wellbeing, to recognise when they and maybe others around them are starting to struggle and to look at first steps to getting help.

Jonathan’s Voice can also provide a bespoke workplace package to support mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. There is no charge. Please email val@jonathansvoice.org.uk to find out more.

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