Mental health | Google gives staff holiday freebie to combat burnout

Google gives staff holiday freebie to combat burnout

Since the majority of the UK was forced into homeworking due to Government lockdown measures, the lines between personal and professional life have blurred for many.

If employees don’t have a dedicated study to work from that they can shut out at the end of the working day, then it may be difficult for them to switch off.

Working parents may be struggling to juggle work commitments and home-schooling for young children and this could result in them working into the early hours to catch up on tasks.

In addition, the constant flurry of Slack, Microsoft Teams messages and emails could mean that employees are working out of hours and not having any time to recuperate.

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Any of these scenarios, if left unmanaged, could result in burnout.

To try and nip burnout in the bud, Alphabet Inc’s Google has asked employees to take this Friday (May 22) off to address any work-from-home-related burnout that has been caused during the pandemic.

Reuters reported that the firm’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, announced the company holiday in a memo to staff last week – which was first reported by CNBC.

Burnout on the rise due to COVID-19

Since the pandemic hit, three in five (58%) HR leaders feel that the mental toll of homeworking during the pandemic will result in staff taking time off due to burnout.

The study – which was commissioned by LinkedIn in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation – found that four in five (79%) HR managers think long-term homeworking has unearthed a culture of ‘e-presenteeism’, whereby workers feel obliged to be online as much as possible, even outside of work hours and when they are feeling unwell.

Therefore, implementing different initiatives to support employee wellbeing and encouraging a healthy work-life balance is crucial to prevent burnout.

Updated work from home policies

Earlier this month, Google and Facebook both revealed that staff would be able to work from home until the end of the year, while also putting in place time guidelines for gradually reopening corporate office spaces.

Twitter also told staff that they could work from home ‘forever’ if they wanted to.

Google is said to start reopening offices in June which will see just ten to 15% of employees allowed back into any one location at the outset.

Google accused of stripping back D&I initiatives

While the tech behemoth has positively hit headlines over its company holiday for staff, just last week the firm was scrutinised over the alleged stripping back of D&I initiatives – according to a Forbes article.

Current and former employees at the firm claimed that this decision was so that Google wouldn’t appear ‘anti-conservative’ – an accusation that the business strongly denies – a report by CNBC News detailed.

Speaking anonymously, the staff members claimed that a well-liked ‘comprehensive racial justice’ programme called Sojourn was cut last year. It was also explained that full-time diversity positions have not been retained at the business.

Yet, in response to the allegations, Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer at Google, denied the claims stating that the programme was cut because it was too US-specific for a global business. Parker also claimed that the firm’s D&I efforts had increased after involving an external firm.

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Comments (1)

  • Adrian, Director of
    Adrian, Director of
    Tue, 19 May 2020 1:14pm BST
    Diabetes UK is giving an extra 2 days leave every month to every non-furloughed colleague in order to help them avoid burnout. The leave must be used within each month, so it's can be accrued and used later. Colleagues in the charity have really appreciated how we are looking after everyone during this difficult time. So I think the large commercial organisations like Google could go much further in caring for their staff!

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