Nike gives head office workers a week off to ‘destress’

A giant sculpture reads "Do the right thing," at the Nike headquarters on March 22, 2018 in Beaverton, Oregon.
Natalie Behring | Getty Images

Sportswear giant Nike gave its head office employees the week off, as the latest company to offer workers vacation in order to support their mental health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Matt Marrazzo, a senior manager of global marketing science at Nike, said in a LinkedIn post last Friday that Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon were "powering down" for the week from last Monday. 

He said: "Our senior leaders are all sending a clear message: Take the time to unwind, destress and spend time with your loved ones. Do not work." 

Marrazzo added that he believed taking the time to rest and recover was "key to performing well and staying sane." 

A spokesperson for Nike confirmed that it had closed offices in different locations for a week, "enabling employees to enjoy additional time off to rest and recover."

The past year had been "rough" amid the coronavirus pandemic, Marrazzo said, describing it as a "traumatic event." However, Marrazzo said he was "hopeful that the empathy and grace we continue to show our teammates will have a positive impact on the culture of work moving forward." 

Marrazzo believed that the move by Nike acknowledged that "we can prioritize mental health and still get work done." 

Nike follows the likes of dating app Bumble, which in June implemented a company-wide week-long vacation to help combat burnout. Bumble then announced in July that it was making the collective week off a twice-yearly permanent perk. 

LinkedIn also gave the majority of its 15,900 employees a week's paid vacation in April to give workers a chance to recharge. 

Teuila Hanson, chief people officer at LinkedIn, said that it was "inspiring to see how our employees returned to work rejuvenated and recharged."

"It reminds me just how critical company culture and the wellness and mental health of employees are to any business," Hanson added.  

A recently published study by workforce analytics firm Visier, surveying 1,000 full-time workers in the U.S., found that 89% of employees said they'd experienced burnout over the past year. In addition, 70% of respondents said they would leave their current job for another organization offering better resources to reduce feelings of burnout.