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Duvet Days - What Are They, And Should You Offer Them?

February 5 2016 - We all have a vague idea of what a 'Duvet Day' is. It's a day when you just cannot be bothered with life, a day spent snuggled up in your duvet, or shuffling about with it around your shoulders like a cosy, unwieldy cape. It's not necessarily a day when you're ill, per se, it's a day when you just act like you're ill until you regain the energy to deal with the world. Let's be honest, plenty of us pull 'sickies' in order to have a Duvet Day. Which is why some companies are cutting right to the chase and making Duvet Days a legitimate thing.

The Rise, Fall, And Rise Of The Duvet Day

The concept of the 'Duvet Day' started in the USA before the 2008 recession. Put simply, a duvet day is a day in which one can phone in to work and take the day off with no questions asked and no obligation to have a 'good reason'. Typically, employees in companies which used the practice would be allowed around four such days a year. In a world which needed to offer competitive benefits packages to potential employees, the idea of a few days a year which one could take off at short notice (although not necessarily consecutively) gave companies a distinct edge when it came to recruitment. It began to take off in the UK - but then along came the Recession, and they sank from view. Partially this was because employers no longer had to offer such incentives when hundreds of people were clawing at every job opening. And partially it was because those who did have jobs felt an increased pressure to sweat it out in the workplace every day, no matter what. Now, however, they appear to be making a resurgence.

Duvet Days VS Sickies

We all know by now the problems caused by not offering a lenient and sympathetic sickness policy to employees. Indeed, a lack of a comprehensive sickness package is likely to raise your business insurance premiums, as it actively places your company at risk. Sick employees who feel forced to come into work spread their sickness to others, and penalizing the ill creates a tense, stressful, and resentful workplace atmosphere. However, being nice to sick employees doesn't come without problems. The UK has a chronic 'sickie' issue, with more of us than would care to admit it faking illness in order to get out of work. In general, most companies will reluctantly admit that they'd rather accept the occasional fake sickness than come down hard on all ill employees (with the inevitable negative consequences that brings) in order to weed out the fakers. However, if you're going to accept that sickies happen, why not make them official and forgo the need for lying?

Why Offer Duvet Days?

For a start, duvet days give your employees the opportunity to be honest. Inculcating a culture of honesty is crucial for any human resources department. Rather than giving your people to hone their excuse-making skills, afford them the respect of allowing them to honest. This will not only help the culture of your company, but also lets your employees know that you are human, too, and understand that sometimes people just need a day off. Not to mention the fact that a company which respects its employees in this manner is likely to garner their respect in turn. Then there's the fact that duvet days are actually good for your staff. Healthy, happy staff are great for a company, and there's nothing better for both health and happiness than a bit of free time every now and again. Stress is a major problem in the modern workplace, so allowing employees the odd free pass to go ahead and take a day away to relax and recharge really can bring tangible improvements to the overall health of your workforce. They're likely to return refreshed, recharged, and twice as productive. Of course, not every workplace can offer this kind of benefit - we're not all lucky enough to be able to pick up the slack at a moment's notice because someone wants to hide in bed all day. However, if you can offer this kind of thing, the benefits are more than worth it.


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