What is a duvet day? Well, I am sure it doesn’t need much explaining! We all want one of these every so often. In fact, most of us wish for one of these every day! A duvet day is a day spent in bed, relaxing – just chilling out!
We all know the feeling – those early mornings during the winter where we go to work in the dark and come back home… in the dark. Unless we go out for lunch, we don’t see daylight. It is depressing really, cold weather, unnatural light for a number of months and early-morning commutes during the rain.
Our 6:30am alarm rings out, waking us with a start. The daily struggle continues! But your bed is warm, your duvet soft and comforting. You want to stay in bed for as long as possible, switch Netflix on and order takeaway food via a courier. A duvet day is when you do just that.
Here at LeaveMonitor, we understand this desire and want to discuss it further. In this article, we will discuss if duvet days are bad for business, if there is a business reason for allowing duvet days, and how to introduce duvet days.
Are Duvet Days bad for business?
Regular viewers of LeaveMonitor may have recently seen my article on employee absenteeism and why it is a really damaging thing for a company. In fact, I wholeheartedly encourage readers of said article to avoid absenteeism as much as possible.
Technically, this is a form of absenteeism. An employee is absent from work. Unauthorised absence is never good for a company. However, it may suggest the presence of an underlying problem.
Saying that, it is good to realise that no matter what you do – your company will never be somewhere employees are excited to come to on a Monday morning during the middle of December at 8am. Whilst you are to be congratulated on making your company more hospitable through things like employee wellbeing programs and bespoke employee benefits only your company provides, work is not known to be the most pleasurable of experiences.
Of course, every employer wants to see their employees turn up to work. But the last thing an employer wants is to see an employee despise coming into work. It affects the way your team works together, the productivity of your employee and general workplace morale. In fact, it may end up leading to an extreme case of negative employee turnover!
It is good to recognise that something like a duvet day can be an incredibly positive thing for your company – allowing a day of self-care for an individual, motivating them to return to work, fresh, renewed and rejuvenated. In fact, with a number of companies introducing the duvet day to their employee wellbeing program, it is good to consider how a duvet day may likely be positive for your business.
The business argument for introducing duvet days
A survey conducted amongst 1000 UK adults shows that over 1/3 of workers believe that a duvet day would be good for mental health and sleep-recovery. Tired employees do not work well, that is just a fact. We are not talking about a yawning employee here, by the way, we are talking about an employee who suffers from stress, anxiety or a bad case of workplace fatigue. Every single one of your staff is susceptible to this. This is seen by the fact that over 2/3 of the interviewed claim they have taken a duvet day. In addition, a number of business websites (such as this one here) discuss the rise of duvet days in the workplace with a distinctly positive tone.
The CIPD have taken a number of surveys regarding employee absenteeism as seen here (a bank of surveys are seen at the bottom of the site) and stress is a continual and reappearing factor blamed for absenteeism. As previously mentioned, see my article on employee absenteeism for more reasons. Here’s a suggestion – read my article on absenteeism. Then think, genuinely think, how many of these reasons could be solved (or mitigated) by a duvet day?
Thing is, your employee could take a duvet day and claim that they are ill. Or just not tell you. I.e. you will find yourself with unplanned and unauthorised absence. Not great. Or, recognising the benefits of a duvet day, you could write the humble duvet day into your company benefits or employee wellbeing plan. Remember, the definition of duvet day in the Cambridge Dictionary states that the absence from work is authorised and given by the workplace. Not an unauthorised absence. By giving your employee an option to request a duvet day on one of those rubbish winter mornings, you send a message that your employee is valuable to you and that you are no hard-task-master.
Introducing duvet days
Obviously, you don’t want an employee to take an unlimited number of days off work to have a duvet day. You don’t want to see duvet week or duvet month! So – how can you introduce a duvet day in a sustainable way for your business? It is up to you – but these suggestions may help.
- Put your policy on duvet days in writing
This will lead to clarity rather than confusion and let an employee know exactly where they stand. This will make the staff-employer relationship less strained should an argument ever arise over this kind of leave being requested.
- Stop any negative ripples affecting other employees
If your employee requests a duvet day when you are low on staff or are experiencing an increase in work where you need all your employees to be working, you may need to tell your employee “no”. Again, this is something that should be in a written duvet day policy to avoid any strained relations after you reject the request.
- Trade like-for-like
Perhaps you could introduce a system where, if a duvet day is taken, the time has to be made up elsewhere. It is up to you how this would work.
- An easy way to request a duvet day
Requesting a duvet day at 7am in bed over the phone to you, their boss, may seem just a little bit scary and uncomfortable. Make it easier for your employee to request this kind of leave via LeaveMonitor’s leave-managing system – you can request a free trial here!
Also, as a final comment on introducing duvet days, it is good to remember that the duvet day may simply not fit your company. If you need staff on call or work increases at particular times of the year, you may not be able to introduce the duvet day as a staff benefit. But hopefully, you have seen how tiredness can impact your company and are encouraged to review your staff wellbeing program.
In conclusion – take the duvet day seriously. It isn’t about laziness – rather, a duvet day may regenerate your workers for the better and help boost employee satisfaction, a lower employee turnover and do good things for your productivity.