UCL School of Management

25 August 2021

Could a company-wide break help prevent burnout?

A cracked and burnt out lightbulb on fire with a black background

The past 18 months have been challenging for everyone, with companies rapidly adapting to the new remote working. This has dramatically impacted the work-life balance with many employees are working longer hours and experiencing burnout. Talking to Wired, Blaine Landis discusses the benefits of a company-wide shutdown to allow employees time to reset and avoid burnout.

Blaine warns that burnout is dangerous for both individuals and organisations, it fuels unhappiness, makes individuals withdraw from work and in turn, take more time off or even leave increasing the company’s turnover.  With this in mind, organisations such as Bumble, LinkedIn and Hootsuite have initiated a week-long shutdown for all staff to allow employees to rest and reset.   

Blaine explains the ‘RestUp’ and ‘Wellbeing’ weeks enable employees to switch off by taking time off together. No new work is generated and the pressure to feel compelled to work is alleviated.

The key to making this approach a success, Blaine advises is listening to your employees and understanding if their workloads would allow such a week. If they are inundated the idea of a week off might be “an unwanted interruption that only contributes to the amount of work they need to do upon their return”. He says that managers should not use these weeks as a means to overcome the new pressures and working environments we find ourselves in since the beginning of the pandemic, rather as a way to introduce burnout prevention strategies that are implemented throughout the year.

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Last updated Wednesday, 1 September 2021