Nike Continues to Emphasize Mental Health by Closing All Global Offices This Week to Give Employees a Break

Nike is making moves to avoid employee burnout and stress.

The sportswear giant has closed all of its offices worldwide this week to give its employees additional time off to recover and rest, Nike confirmed to FN. All global employees have the option to take time off this week in advance of a planned to return to the office this fall.

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In May, Nike said it would bring employees back to its headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., in September with a “3-2 flexible work model” which allows employees to work remotely up to two days a week.

This week-off initiative from Nike comes amid a period of general worker unrest and anxiety. While some companies are already welcoming their workforces back to the office, the spread of the Delta variant has placed many return plans in flux. Some companies have already pushed back initial plans of a fall return until early 2022. Some, such as Under Armour and Saks Fifth Avenue, have started mandating vaccinations for employees to return to the office.

According to a Friday LinkedIn post from Nike senior manager of global marketing science Matt Marrazzo, Nike’s decision to offer a week off is meant to help employees prioritize mental health, de-stress and unwind away from their desks.

“It’s times like this that I’m so grateful to be a part of this team. In a year (or two) unlike any other, taking time for rest and recovery is key to performing well and staying sane,” Marrazzo wrote. “This past year has been rough — we’re all human! and living through a traumatic event! — but I’m hopeful that the empathy and grace we continue to show our teammates will have a positive impact on the culture of work moving forward.”

More than one in five companies this year are giving employees more vacation time, according to a March survey from executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. LinkedIn, Bumble, Mozilla and more have recently made the move to offer employees a week-long paid break meant to improve mental health and energy at work.

Nike has been an outward proponent for destigmatizing mental health issues in recent years, and in May, the brand teamed up with Crisis Text Line with the goal to advance the conversation around the importance of mental health and expand the direct line of support to those in need.

And this summer, when its athlete partner Naomi Osaka faced backlash after refusing to participate in mandated press conferences at the 2021 French Open, citing mental health reasons, Nike stood by her decision. “Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience,” the Swoosh told FN at the time.

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