Duvet day: Two thirds of Brits skip work over stress

Two thirds of the UK population have taken a duvet day due to hectic work schedules and that 65 per cent of people would be more likely to take a job if the company offered duvet days as part of its contract.

A recent study into duvet days across the UK suggests that employees are feeling increasingly stressed, with 61 per cent admitting that they have taken a duvet day from work in order to recuperate. Bed and sleep specialist Time 4 Sleep has considered the benefits of duvet days and found that they’re more important than you might think for your mental health and wellbeing.

The research1 by Time 4 Sleep found that the main reason for UK employees taking a duvet day, a day taken from work to recuperate when they are not ‘physically sick’, is when they’re feeling tired, with 36 per cent of people stating that this is why they would consider taking a day off. This was closely followed by feeling stressed and anxious (33 per cent) and not being in the right frame of mind (20 per cenr).

With 34 per cent of people believing that duvet days are a good idea, and 36 per cent stating that they help with stress and anxiety levels, it’s no surprise that they’re on the increase. Managing director at OriGym, and previous owner of a recruitment company, Luke Hughes, talks about why duvet days are often now part of an employee’s contract.

Luke says, ‘In short, a duvet day is a written clause in an employment contract allowing an employee to call their work and take a day of leave without having to give reason or prior notice. They are usually built into an employee’s annual holiday allowance, meaning that when the employee takes a duvet day, it doesn’t come out of their specified holiday dates.

‘Generally, duvet days are offered to entice highly skilled graduates, and can be advertised as a perk of working for an organisation. This is especially true of millennial workers, particularly in a western society where flexible working and informal office spaces have proliferated.’

Looking after your mental health and wellbeing is an increasingly discussed topic in today’s society and it seems that the younger generation are more likely to prioritise their mental wellbeing. The research found that those aged between 25 and 34 were most likely to have taken a day off to recuperate, compared with 49 per cent of people aged 65 and above.

In fact, only 16 per cent of people from this generation felt that duvet days were a good idea for the workplace, this was less than all other age groups.

Those aged 65 and above were also more likely to think that employees would take advantage of duvet days (39 per cent) and that they promote laziness (28 per cent).

When it comes to looking after our mental health, it seems that the younger generation might be onto something. The research found that half of doctors feel that duvet days help with stress and anxiety levels, this was more than any other profession.

Mindfulness expert Rohan Gunatillake, director at Mindfulness Everywhere and creator of best-selling app Buddhify, discusses the importance of being able to take some time out when you need it.

He says, ‘We live in a time where the ability to rest well has never been more necessary. Not only does having a rested body help us be more productive and energetic, with so many demands on our time and attention, a rested mind means that we can be more responsive to what life throws our way rather than just reacting.

‘We are moving towards being a society where physical and mental wellbeing are considered just as important as each other. So just as it is entirely normal and indeed expected to take time off if suffering from something like the flu, it will also soon become just as normal to do the same when dealing with mental fatigue. If initiatives like duvet days can help us get there, then that is absolutely something I can get behind.’

Jonathan Warren, director at Time 4 Sleep, says, ‘It seems that people are beginning to take their mental health and wellbeing much more seriously, with duvet days becoming more prevalent in the UK. Looking after yourself is so important, especially in stressful environments such as the workplace.

‘It was interesting to see just how much of an impact some time out can have on your mental health, from an expert’s point of view. If you’ve been feeling stressed recently, a day of relaxing in bed or at home might just make all the difference in helping you to feel refreshed again!’

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for SmallBusiness.co.uk. He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

Related Topics