A recent study into ‘duvet days’ across the UK suggests that employees are feeling increasingly stressed, with 61% admitting that they have taken a ‘duvet day’ from work in order to recuperate. Over a third (34%) of people feel that such initiatives are a good idea, with recuperation days providing both physical and mental benefits.

For some 'you' time

For some 'you' time

Bed and sleep specialist Time 4 Sleep spoke to mindfulness expert Rohan Gunatillake, director at Mindfulness Everywhere and creator of best-selling app Buddhify, about the top ten reasons to take a duvet day.

Rest and recuperation

The research by Time 4 Sleep1 found that tiredness is the main reason for UK employees taking duvet days, with 36% of people stating that it would make them consider taking a day off.

Rohan said: “We live in a time where the ability to rest well has never been more necessary. A rested body helps us be more productive and energetic.” Taking a duvet day can restore energy levels and leave people feeling refreshed and ready to return to work.

More responsive

An employee who is well rested is also likely to be more productive and use their initiative more in the workplace. Rohan said: “With so many demands on our time and attention, a rested mind means that we can be more responsive to what life throws our way rather than just reacting.”

Mental wellbeing

One in three (33%) UK employees said that they had taken a duvet day because of stress and anxiety, with a similar amount of people (36%) claiming they have a direct positive impact on mental wellbeing. Duvet days allow for a period of recuperation where an individual can forget about the stresses of work.

Rohan believes that duvet days appeal to the public’s growing awareness of the importance of psychological health: “We are moving towards being a society where physical and mental wellbeing are considered just as important as each other.”

Sign of the times

Duvet days and other similar initiatives are becoming more common and by offering them, employers can signal their commitment to their workers’ wellbeing. Nearly two thirds (65%) of UK adults said that they would be more likely to take a job if the company offered duvet days, showing how much psychological health is valued in today’s world. It is perfectly acceptable, and important, for people to take time out to look after themselves and by doing so, they will be reinforcing this positive social trend.

Rohan said: “Just as it is entirely normal and indeed expected to take time off if suffering from something like the flu, it will also soon become just as normal to do the same when dealing with mental fatigue. If initiatives like duvet days can help us get there, then that is absolutely something I can get behind.”

‘You’ time

People spend an awful lot of time trying to please others and putting their friends, family members and colleagues ahead of their own interests. Duvet days allow workers to take time out by themselves and focus simply on getting themselves ready to go again. One in five (20%) respondents said that they would take a duvet day to help get themselves in the right frame of mind.

Don’t cut into holiday days

Duvet days are typically not included in an employee’s agreed amount of annual leave, meaning that people can take the time to recuperate without sacrificing their hard-earned holidays.

Luke Hughes, Managing Director at OriGym and previous owner of a recruitment company, explained the contractual situation: “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.”

Increased productivity

A tired or stressed employee is not going to going to be working at full speed. Sacrificing one day in order to recuperate could result in better productivity long-term – think quality, not quantity. Being offered duvet days by an employer can make workers feel more respected and more likely to give their absolute best to the company. One in seven (14%) said that duvet day initiatives show a company has their employees’ interests at heart.

Motivation

Hectic work schedules can affect various aspects of mental health, from stress levels and mental fatigue, to an employee's level of motivation. One in five (20%) UK adults said that a duvet day would help them re-motivate themselves, which again, can lead to increased productivity when they return to work.

Under pressure

The typical modern-day workplace is driven by a constant demand for results, piling unhealthy amounts of pressure onto employees. Nearly one in three (30%) respondents said that duvet days would help to them to cope with such pressure in the long term, with the days off providing a distraction from the world of targets and evaluations.

Healthy honesty

Duvet day policies reduce the ‘need’ for employees to ‘pull a sickie’ if they are not feeling quite up to working one day. As they are typically written into a contract, people can take days off without feeling guilty or having to lie to their employer. This can help nurture positive workplace relations, removing feelings of suspicion or resentment for those taking days off.

Jonathan Warren, director at Time 4 Sleep, said: “There are a number of really good reasons to take a duvet day and it’s not a surprise that they are increasing in popularity. It seems that people are beginning to take their mental health and wellbeing much more seriously. Looking after yourself is so important, especially in stressful environments such as the workplace.

“It was interesting to see just how much of an impact some time out can have on your mental health, from an expert’s point of view. If you’ve been feeling stressed recently, a day of relaxing in bed or at home might just make all the difference in helping you to feel refreshed again!”

For more advice on the benefits of duvet days, please visit: https://www.time4sleep.co.uk/blog/five-signs-you-might-need-to-take-a-duvet-day/


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