Why LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and Bumble shut down for a week to battle burnout
Sometimes for employees to do their best work after a year of pandemic, they need to do no work at all.
At least that’s the thinking employed by several companies, including Hootsuite, Bumble, and LinkedIn, who have given (or are planning to give) most employees a week off to battle “COVID burnout.”
The social media management company Hootsuite is giving most employees next week off—from July 5 to July 12—to try to remedy some of the fatigue caused by the pandemic in the last year.
In contrast to just giving employees a week more of vacation, Hootsuite’s chief people and diversity officer, Tara Ataya, said a weeklong stoppage will be more relaxing because most employees, except customer support staff, will be off together.
“You don’t have the same pressure or urges, to check or feel like you’re missing out on something, or that you’re going to have to catch up when you come back,” Ataya said.
Employees in the U.S. are already some of the most stressed in the world, and the pandemic only worsened this issue. According to a November 2020 survey by the American Psychological Association, three out of four Americans said the pandemic was a significant source of stress for them.
For managers, according to data from LinkedIn’s subsidiary, Glint, burnout also increased 78% between the first and fourth quarters of 2020. To address this problem, LinkedIn also gave most employees a week off in April as part of its “LiftUp!” program, which aims to meet the needs of employees working from home.
Nina McQueen, the vice president of global talent benefits and employee experience at LinkedIn, said in an email that workers used the days off to go outdoors, volunteer, and enjoy time with family.
“This global week off was a gift for our employees to express our gratitude,” McQueen said in a statement.
When Hootsuite asked employees for feedback internally, they overwhelmingly said mental health should be a priority for the company, Ataya said.
Many experienced trauma and change caused by COVID-19. Although it won’t solve all problems, a weeklong break away will hopefully help, Ataya said.
“My hope for employees is that they get a sense of peace and create some harmony for their lives next week and come back recharged and excited about what we’re doing as an organization,” Ataya said.
Even as vaccination rates increase in the U.S. and states begin lifting restrictions, many employees, including most of those at Hootsuite, Bumble, and LinkedIn, are still working from home.
Bumble’s president, Tariq Shaukat, started at Bumble about a year ago, and he said he knows firsthand how being tied to your computer for a whole year can be tiring. To battle this “Zoom fatigue,” the company already did away with meetings on the last Friday of every month and will soon expand that to two days a month, Shaukat said.
Now that employees are back from the weeklong stoppage at Bumble last week, Shaukat said, he has seen a shift in mood from employees.
“Everyone is just buzzing about the week off and how refreshing it was and how much it allowed them to really recharge,” Shaukat said.
During the week off, Shaukat said, he was also able to get away to do some hiking and whitewater rafting in Colorado with his wife and two kids.
“It was awesome,” Shaukat told Fortune. “It is definitely the exact opposite of staring at a computer screen all day.”
Correction, July 1, 2021: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Hootsuite’s chief people and diversity officer, Tara Ataya.
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