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Brand Purpose Remote Working The Future of Work

Nike gives head office staff a week off to ‘prioritize mental health’


By Ellen Ormesher, Senior Reporter

August 31, 2021 | 4 min read

Nike has become the latest major company to offer extra time off for staff following the pressures of working amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nike head office

The sportswear brand will be ‘powering down’ for a week to combat employee burnout

At its headquarters in Oregon, US, the sportswear brand will be “powering down” for a week as senior leaders are encouraging all office staff to ignore work and de-stress in aid of their mental health.

In a post on LinkedIn, Nike’s senior manager of global marketing science Matt Marrazzo announced that the time off had been mandated following a “rough year”, and acknowledged the “traumatic events” employees have been working through.

He said: “It’s not just a ‘week off’ for the team, it’s an acknowledgment that we can prioritize mental health and still get work done.”

The move follows in the footsteps of other businesses, including Bumble and LinkedIn, that are offering extra time off due to ‘burnout’ and the wider, negative effects of remote working and working amid the pandemic.

What is Nike doing?

  • Nike has given head office employees in the US a week off following the pressures of working during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  • Senior leaders are encouraging employees not to work in order to “de-stress and spend time with loved ones” after the “traumatic events” of the last 18 months.

  • Unlike in Europe, the amount of annual leave granted to workers in the US varies from employer to employer. It’s possible that moves such as this from major companies could set a precedent for employers increasing annual leave or flexible working policies.

  • However, in this case, the week off is only being granted to US head office staff and does not apply to office staff globally or to retail staff in any of Nike’s 300+ locations across the country.

Is it becoming more commonplace?

  • Nike is not the first major company in recent times to offer extra time off to remote workers. Earlier this year Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of the dating app Bumble, gave its 700 employees an extra week off in June.

  • Likewise, LinkedIn gave all employees globally an extra week off back in April.

  • While additional time off may continue to become more commonplace at brand headquarters, it remains to be seen whether agencies will follow suit.

  • Back in May, The Drum’s mental health survey found that the mental health of workers across the global marketing industry is under severe strain, with workers feeling that employers are not doing enough to combat employee burnout and heavy workloads.

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