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What are duvet days and why you should have them

What are duvet days and why you should have them

Stress, burnout, and distress are common challenges in the workplace, with 1 in 6 people experiencing mental health issues at work.

To address these concerns, many companies are adopting initiatives like duvet days. Duvet days allow employees to take leave without needing to explain why, promoting mental health and well-being.

Read on to discover what duvet days are, their benefits, and why your company should consider implementing them.

What are duvet days?

Duvet days are part of an absence leave in which employees are allowed to take a day off without explaining their reason for doing so. Employers are not allowed to pry, they do not ask questions, and respect the employee's decision. As humans, we need to acknowledge that sometimes individuals need to take a break from work either for mental health reasons or their personal well-being. 

At Charlie, we refer to duvet days as ‘personal days’ where each employee is entitled to 4 ‘no questions asked' personal days for the year. 

This is for those odd days when an employee feels off and just can't face having to work. Our employees with mental health issues are also provided with generous sick leave, as we do want to put an emphasis on prioritising mental health as much as physical health. 

When is an employee allowed to take a duvet day?

In the above section, I talked about mental health and personal well-being as some of the reasons why an employee can opt for a duvet day. I'd like to list some other reasons or scenarios for this case.

  1. Recovery: Duvet days can be used for recovery from physical, or mental exhaustion. After a particularly demanding period, whether due to work or personal reasons, taking a day to rest and recover can help employees return to work feeling refreshed. 
  2. Sleep: There could be various reasons why an employee might need more time to sleep. They could be experiencing fatigue due to stress, illness or personal reasons. People who are overworked also often complain of feeling tired all the time, even when they sleep through the night. 
  3. Unexpected events: Duvet days help employees handle sudden personal situations or emergencies. Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes people need a day off to manage things like family emergencies or urgent home issues. Allowing duvet days means employees can take care of these problems without having to explain, reducing stress and building a supportive work environment.

Benefits of implementing duvet days

At Charlie, these are some of the benefits we've seen since the implementation of duvet days as part of our well-being initiatives.

Prevents workplace accidents

Workplace mental issues are a huge cost burden for businesses. One study estimates the annual cost of workplace errors and accidents linked to insomnia at $31.1 billion. Reducing fatigue through the implementation of duvet days can help minimise the risk of accidents and injuries in the workplace. 

Boosts employee performance

When employees take on duvet days which are necessary for burnout treatment, they return to work ready to complete tasks. This helps them to perform well by delivering high-quality work accurately and on time, helping the company to meet its goals.

Attracts and retains talent

Businesses that prioritize employee well-being through fatigue management initiatives such as duvet days are more likely to attract and retain top talent.

65% of UK workers would be more inclined to take a job with a company that offered duvet days. This also boosts employer branding, as investors and customers appreciate companies that care for their employees. 

Reduced absenteeism and sick leave

Duvet days reduce sick leave and absenteeism by letting employees take unplanned days off to rest. This is important considering the recent report released by the UK government. It showed that some of the most common health conditions cited as the reason for long-term sickness were to do with mental health issues, with 313,000 suffering from mental illness and a further 282,000 from depression-related illness. 

Greater levels of employee satisfaction 

If you aren't paying attention to your employees, they'll never be able to perform well. To increase job satisfaction, companies need to keep their employees happy and at the same time reduce turnover. Employers who invest in employee well-being strategies such as duvet days can receive a positive return on investment as employees are healthier, happier and more engaged with their work. 

Disadvantages of duvet days

I wouldn't like to call it a disadvantage, but there may be times when a duvet day might not be the best choice for your company.

Not all employees see duvet days in a positive light; some might consider it as time taken away from their work responsibilities or feel the pressure to stay available. 

Additionally, during peak business periods or critical projects, having multiple employees take duvet days could disrupt workflow and impact productivity. It’s important to assess the company’s specific needs to determine if a duvet day policy is the right fit for your business.

Factors to consider when implementing a duvet day policy

If you've reached this stage, that means you've understood the importance of duvet days and are looking to implement them. Here’s how we approached it at Charlie: 

  • Eligibility: Decide which employees can use duvet days, considering factors I've listed above and some other factors like employment status and role. 
  • Number of days: Set a hard limit on how many duvet days employees can take each year. This step provides restrictions and boundaries, ensuring that the policy is not taken advantage of. 
  • Notification process: Employers should create a simple way for employees to inform their managers when they take a duvet day.
  • Policy communication: Take time to clearly explain the duvet day policy to all employees and provide guidelines in handbooks if necessary. 
  • Impact on other types of leave: To avoid misunderstanding, provide clarity on how duvet days relate to other types of leave like sick days and vacation.
  • Leave tracking: Tracking your duvet days is important to get accurate records, prevent misuse, and make adjustments to the policy when needed. 

That’s where Charlie's leave management software can help – get your people to self-record their duvet days (and all the types of leave you offer) directly in our software where you can manage and track it in a few clicks. 

Click here to start tracking your team's time off with Charlie

3 tips for your duvet days policy

  • Manager Training: Train your managers with sufficient knowledge and resources in how to handle duvet day requests and support their team members.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: You should regularly review the policy's effectiveness and make adjustments as needed.
  • Invest in wellbeing: Ensure your duvet days complement other wellbeing programs in the company.

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