Imagine if you regularly took a day off of work for no other reason than to experience joy. Better yet, imagine if that was paid time off. What might that do for your mental well-being?
Joyous gives employees nine days a year to focus on joy. For mental health awareness week, Joyous is sharing a detailed copy of our innovative mental health benefits for others to use.
Our first benefit is Joy Days. A Joy Day is the opposite of a mental health day.
Mental health days (MHDs) are taken when an employee is already feeling stressed, or close to burn out. So much so they need a day off to recover mentally. Meanwhile, in many organisations taking a day off for your mental health is completely taboo.
Even in organisations that encourage employees to look after their mental health, many people still don't feel comfortable. Others might take the day off secretively under the guise of a sick day.
At Joyous we give our employees six days off as special paid leave to experience joy. Our goal is to prevent stress and burnout in the first place. Our view is that providing services to support people who are already suffering from (often work-related) stress is too little too late. Although, to be clear we also offer free unlimited counselling services to all employees. I'll share more about that benefit in my next blog.
According to this Stuff article, a study undertaken earlier this year shows a quarter of New Zealand adults are at risk of struggling with their mental health.
Before Joy Days, as a full-timer and mum of two young kids I rarely took time for myself. Towards the end of each year I found myself feeling worn down. By that point I was also mentally sucked into the grind. I would struggle to think myself out of it long enough to book leave and plan time off.
To make matters worse, the second half of each year in New Zealand has hardly any public holidays. So, there was nothing forcing me to take a break as each year wore on. By December I was shattered. I would take a ton of time off at once across the holiday season to rest and recharge. Then come the next year I repeat the stress cycle.
That's why I love Joy Days. They happen during the months where there are no public holidays. They are fixed - meaning they have a set date. For the most part, we all take them at the same time. For 2021 we took off the first Monday in March, May, July, August, September. And we still have one more coming in November. These days are entirely our own, we are not asked to take part in any work activities.
So, what did I do on these days? One Joy Day I went for a casual stroll through a shopping mall. I walked at half the speed of everyone around me, just because I could. I tried on many options in the dressing room. All without a child hassling me for an ice-cream before escaping while I was half dressed.
I've also enjoyed a breakfast brunch in Takapuna with a group of friends, followed by a stroll on the beach. I've spent quality time with my husband. I've taken my son kayaking. I spent one Joy Day booking four short family holidays for the coming months. I've also used a Joy Day to do nothing at all - it was glorious.
Other Joy peeps have used them to go mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing or for long walks. Others got their DIY project done at home or tidied up a shelf that had been disorganised for years. Some enjoyed binge watching a Netflix series or reading a book out in the sun. Others baked, created beautiful works of art or crafts. And some, like me, did nothing at all.
Some photos shared from Joy peeps in our Joy-Days slack channel.
Our second benefit is Joy Trips. As if Joy Days are not ground breaking on their own - we also take three company day-trips a year.
For 2021 we did one in June, and our next one will be in December. We car-pool and follow the same route to a nearby destination with a few stops along the way to do group activities.
Playing Jenga at Wenderholm Regional Park on a Joy Trip
In December we usually take the ferry and spend a day together on Waiheke Island. Due to Covid-19 we've had one less road-trip this year, but fingers crossed next year they will be back in full force.
So, why do we do this? It's simple. Why wouldn't we? Why isn't preventing mental health issues already a top priority for every employer?
At Joyous our purpose is to make life better for people at work. Internally our goal is to make life exceptional for people at Joyous. At Joyous our culture, and our people are as important as our commercial success. I'd go as far as to say it's even more important.
Download your copy of our Joyous benefits today. It's time to start the conversation about prioritising joy at your organisation.