With COVID-19 set to keep the world at home this winter, Google’s management did its collective bit against employee burnout by declaring a four-day weekend. Should the world follow their lead?
The four-day break wasn’t the sole responsibility of Google’s management, of course. The United States celebrates Labor Day, one of a vanishingly small number of national holidays, on the first Monday in September. The entire US population enjoyed the collective breather of a three-day weekend September 5-7.
But Google Day, scheduled for Friday September 4, gave an extended break to Google’s 114,000 employees worldwide. “We strongly encourage you to take this day off,” trumpeted the Google employee forum. “Managers should actively support their teams to reprioritize work commitments. If your manager identifies an urgent business-critical need that requires you to work at the last minute, you should take the next available working day off instead.”
CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company had made the gesture because it wanted to offer support to employees facing extended periods of remote work. His statement, which invoked the concept of ‘collective wellbeing’, underlined Google’s pitch-perfect reading of the national mood.
Predictions that much of the US population will be working from home until at least mid-2021 as a result of coronavirus have occasioned little more than resigned exhaustion. But this autumn the country has also had to contend with heightened social and political tensions and a series of natural disasters, in the shape of hurricanes which battered coastal states, and wildfires which have razed large sections of the west.
In short…it needs a break.
Google made it clear that the Friday holiday was a response to the pandemic and won’t be added to its annual calendar. But commentators in the UK and Europe have rushed to add their voices to calls for a similar, global holiday.
At LeavePlanner, we specialise in helping organisations manage staff downtime…and we’d be delighted to help make a global holiday happen!