Why isn’t anyone at Nike working this week?

You walk into an office, pull at the door and find that she gives nothing and no one is there.

It may seem like the start of the common nightmare of rushing to the office on Saturdays, but increasingly, group holidays are being embraced by employees as part of promoting a better work culture.

While being professional LinkedIn social media platform (MSFT) and dating app Bumble (BMBL) already had experienced with collective furloughs for workers, the impact on companies really started with Nike (NKE) .

In August 2021, the activewear giant announced that it was giving the more than 11,000 employees at its Oregon headquarters a week off to “shut down” and “de-stress” from the stress brought on by the covid-19 pandemic.

“In a year (or two) like no other, taking time to rest and recover is essential to performing well and staying sane,” wrote Matt Marrazzos, senior director of global marketing science at Nike, to employees at the time.

Nike is on vacation right now

The experience was, unsurprisingly, very well received – a year later the company instituted its second annual “wellness week”. The Beaverton, Oregon, headquarters and three Air Manufacturing design labs with more than 1,500 employees are closed for a corporate paid vacation Aug. 15-19.

“We knew it would be impactful, but I was blown away by the feedback from our teammates. […]”, Monique Matheson, Human Resources Director of Nike written in a LinkedIn post.

“Because everyone was out at the same time, teammates said they could unplug — really unplug, not worrying about what’s going on in the office or worrying about emails piling up. “

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Of course, the leave only applies to company employees. To keep stores running and online orders filled, without exacerbating blue-collar and white-collar differences, Nike has given its retail and distribution employees a week of paid time off that they can use as they see fit.

Nike linked the change to its commitment to prioritizing mental health. Last year he launched all of a “mental health marathon” for a podcast which explains how exercise can be used to manage anxiety and depression.

Ripple in the corporate world?

But since companies are often criticized for turning mental health into positive public relations without really doing much for employees, the collective week off was perhaps the most important thing the company did for health. mentality of the workers.

The practice of fixed office closures has long been common practice in many European countries. In France, not only corporate offices, but even restaurants and retail stores are emptying more than August for what is culturally considered a sacred holiday.

But because the American work culture prioritizes individual choice and “keeping business” above all else, the practice has been seen as radical by many business leaders and especially smaller companies that may have more hard to endure such a prolonged drop in activity.

But in many ways, the conversations reflect some companies’ resistance to remote working despite the fact that a quarter of white-collar jobs in the United States are expected to be entirely remote by 2023.

“It’s the kind of perk that makes employees want to stay,” industry analyst Shep Hyken wrote in a comment for RetailWire. “And knowing that they can’t completely shut down the whole business, I like how they’re compensating distribution and retail store employees.”

Darryl A. Chapin