No More Sick Days Might Just Make You Healthier

No Sick Days | Shanelle Jacobs

We’ve all had those weeks.  You just get back from vacation and all your paid time off is good and used up, then life happens—your pet needs to go to the vet, your kid gets sick, the pipes in your home freeze.  Now you’re struggling to figure out how you’re going to manage (or afford) time off from work.

This scenario surfaces frequently during the lives of working-class individuals across the country, but there is a new trend among companies—especially those with younger CEOs and management staff.  Studies show that these “new age” companies are actually encouraging employees to take time off. Published articles, such as this one by Dr. Emma Seppala, Ph. D., suggest taking time off has health benefits and increases your productivity at work.

Some companies offer both generous paid time off benefits and flex-time.  Need Friday off? Stay a few hours late each day during the week. The goal is that you complete your task, not that you’re tied to a clock or a desk.  There’s also been an increase in employers’ willingness to let their employees telecommute. The ability to telecommute has made the stress load lighter on many employees—we all know stress makes us more susceptible to illness.

Fiscal Note, a Washington, D.C. based company, takes it a step further.  Not only have they eliminated limits on the number of sick days an employee can take, they actually pay a bonus for taking 5 consecutive days off in a year!  Fiscal Note’s vacation schedule rewards them with friendly employees who work hard, because acknowledging their employees have lives to live encourages them to do so.

There will always be industries that are resistant to this type of change, but hopefully as research in this area continues—and as the fruits of taking a breather are realized—more companies will fall in line and let their staff have a life outside of work.  In the meantime, take time for yourself—even if it’s just a few minutes each day. Relax and let that stress melt away.