We recently introduced Reset days as a new policy here at Futureheads. These are two, ‘no-questions-asked’ days people can use to take extra time out when they need it.
The idea was inspired by an article I read called ‘I’m not throwing a sickie, I’m saving my sanity’*. It’s about a chap who is professional, conscientious, but, like so many people in the world, suffers from mental health issues. Sometimes it all gets a bit much for him and he needs to take time off work, but he doesn’t feel able to tell people why, so he tells his colleagues that he’s got man-flu, or he’s throwing up. Actually, he just isn’t in a good place to go to work.
Over the years we have always tried to be a company that supports people with advice or time off as and when they have needed help, so I took the article to the management team and proposed that we create an extension to our sick leave policy, allowing a further two ‘Reset days’ per year which are there for anyone to use when it just all gets a bit too much.
We wanted to make sure everyone understood that they were different from a 'duvet day'. While a duvet day is a great policy that works for many companies, for us, Reset days are specifically designed for people who genuinely need it when they are struggling with emotional health issues.
To make this policy work in practice, we needed to make sure everyone was as comfortable as possible with speaking to their manager about taking a Reset day. So, other than telling us they would like to take a Reset day, we made it clear that we wouldn’t pry, and they were free to reveal as much or as little as they wanted to.
Now in place for about three months, we surveyed the Futureheads team anonymously to find out what they thought of it so far:
“A really good idea, effective and make the 'human' part of Futureheads even more effective. Used one and appreciated the no questions asked approach at the time. Mental health/life upsets hold a lot of significance over work so having these instead of sick days (or having to waffle about why you can't come in) adds to the culture.”
“A good way for a business to acknowledge that sometimes life takes over and you can't be at your best for work. Especially nice that you don't have to explain - but there is a mild follow up to check all is okay".
“I've never used a Reset day, but I like that they are available should I need one. Thanks for introducing - I'd like to keep them : )”
We think Reset days have been a great addition to our people policies, and based on the feedback so far, we believe they’ve been a good resource for our staff.
Another great benefit of formalising a policy like this is that it’s really opened the conversation about mental health in the workplace, and made it clear that no one needs to give us a false excuse if they need to ‘reset’.
We’re always looking for new ideas and initiatives around keeping our teams happy and healthy, so if you have any ideas that have worked well, we’d love to hear them.
Or, if you'd like some advice on building a culture of wellness in your team, come chat with us in confidence. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* We’ve searched high and low, but the article no longer seems to be available on the internet. But we did manage to save it offline, so do drop us a message if you’d like to see it in full.