The Good Daily

How Will You Spend Your Happiness Day?

In our latest 'What is a Good Day At Work' report, we discuss the importance of our physical and emotional energy for creating good at work. We found that having balanced energy levels is crucial for managing and improving our overall wellbeing at work and at home.

Very often, we know how to take care of our physical selves – the basics of nutrition, exercise and rest are covered. We can manage the flu season and periods of illness, but are we as equipped to manage when our mental health starts to dip? The neglect of mental health can often lead to a disruption for our physical health, with the two very much intertwined for overall wellbeing.  

It’s inspiring to see then, the amount of wellbeing and mental health strategies beginning to take hold in UK organisations and business culture. We’re finally winning the battle that allows UK workers to discuss their emotional needs with employers and seek rest and support when they need.

Rise of the duvet day

One such way that modern wellbeing culture has manifested into UK working environments is the growing popularity of mental health days. Commonly known in the US as ‘duvet days’, this simple concept allows employees to request a day off, unpenalised, to recoup and reset their emotional and physical energies.

For example, a Manchester startup, M14 Industries – the team behind popular dating app software, like Bristlr, operates an unlimited ‘duvet day’ option for their small team of employees. CEO, John Kershaw, an advocate for positive mental health amongst other key issues, sees these days a good investment in his people. And ultimately in the business benefits that his workers produce when they are rested and well. He says “Why would I want to force my employees to be at work when they aren’t having a good day – be that for anxiety, depression or general mental dips. If they can’t focus, then their work quality will drop and productivity is lost. I’ll end up re-paying them to rework tasks that were poorly done the first time. I’d much rather they took the time to manage themselves, rest and return to the office ready to go, without the additional pressure or stress of traditional HR processes on their mind.”

“We’re a startup so we can do things in our own way that suits our people and business. The system works because people feel empowered and trusted to take care of themselves, knowing that I‘ll take care of them. I’ve not had an issue with people taking advantage of the system, and in fact I find it very useful myself for those ‘off’ days. Leading by example in a high pressure environment helps show that everyone needs to take care of all aspects of their health.”

Happiness day

Here at Robertson Cooper, we have a similar programme, but allow staff to take their mental health day as a ‘happiness day’. We’re a bright and positive bunch here! Instead of focusing on the stigma that the ‘duvet day’ may create (i.e that employees are so overwhelmed they want to hide away in a duvet) we prefer to give them a day each year instead to do something that makes them happy.  A ‘happiness day’ is about taking a day out to realign yourself and regain perspective on your own life. A day to freely recharge your energy when you need it most.

Baz’s Happiness Day

Our Technical Manager, Baz, recently took some time off during which he got the opportunity to visit the Welsh Mountains. Baz and his friend Tom spent nearly 5 hours hiking up Pen-Y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons. 

“It was a fantastic trip and really showed what a break out in the open air, away from everything, can do for the brain and soul.”

Part of what made the day so great was that Baz got to spend some time with an old friend. The time the two men spent together allowed them to talk freely and mindfully, in a pressure free environment - something that we know from our work with the is crucial for men’s good health.

We would love to know what you think about ‘happiness’ or ‘duvet’ days - tweet us at @Gooddayatwork

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Cary CooperGood Day at Work®

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

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MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

Cary CooperCary on Twitter

Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Manchester Business School.

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Robertson Cooper Ltd
Rutherford House
Manchester Science Park
Pencroft Way
M15 6SZ

Tel: +44 (0) 161 232 4910