Bumble to give entire company a week off to deal with pandemic ‘burnout’

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Bumble has given its staff a week-long (paid) vacation to combat workplace burnout.

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Bumble, the social networking and dating app best known for encouraging women to make the first move, has given its 700 person staff a week-long (paid) vacation to combat workplace burnout.

Per the World Health Organization, burnout is an “occupational phenomenon,” caused by “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed,” and can can manifest in the form(s) of exhaustion, “mental distance from one’s job,” and/or “reduced professional efficacy.”

Bumble’s plan to tackle the “occupational phenomenon” was first announced in April when the brand quote-tweeted a writer’s request for a “national paid vacation.”

While the writer didn’t get her wish (fingers still crossed), Bumble employees very much did. And now that it’s June, their vacation has commenced and Bumble’s employees are rejoicing on Twitter.

Bumble’s Head of Editorial Content, Claire O’Connor, also reportedly tweeted in support of CEO and Founder Whitney Wolfe’s decision, though the tweet has since been deleted.

“@WhitWolfeHerd gave all 700ish of us a paid week off, having correctly intuited our collective burnout,” O’Connor wrote. “In the US especially, where vacation days are notoriously scarce, it feels like a big deal.”

A Bumble spokeswoman confirmed the week-long vacation to Sky News, elaborating on the logic behind the company-wide decision.

“Like everyone, our global team has had a very challenging time during the pandemic,” she said. “As vaccination rates have increased and restriction have begun to ease, we wanted to give our teams around the world an opportunity to shut off and focus on themselves for a week.” Employees are set to return to work on June 28.

Bumble’s vacation comes at a time when companies are being forced to re-evaluate their workplace values — and employee’s well-being — amid a post-pandemic economy.

Some companies, like Twitter, have opted to switch to a remote-model moving forward, while many, like Google, are implementing “hybrid models.” Some others are taking the vacation route a la Bumble however: Hootsuite announced a similar concept in May. In a company blog post titled, “We’re Shutting Down the Entire Company for a Full Week—Here’s Why,” the company wrote, “our collective mental health is suffering.”

“Productivity requires ample breaks,” they continued, introducing HootSuite’s “Wellness Week,” a company-wide week off scheduled for July 2021.

Per the blog post, Hootsuite Founder Ryan Holmes compares work-life balance to “interval training,” which is essentially a fancy way of saying “work hard, play hard.” But when it comes to combatting burnout, experts don’t think it works that way: It’s a marathon, not a sprint (or interval), and a matter of being mindful on a daily basis, not squished into one week.

“The truth is, burnout is not an occupational phenomenon,” says Subira Jones, a London-based Burnout Prevention Consultant and creator of The Burnout Free Lifestyle. “Burnout prevention requires a lifestyle change.”

“Working from home has eroded any sense of separation between our working life and our home life. For those who do not know how to ‘switch off,’ it can be an anxiety inducing week bringing them closer to burning out.”

“Corporate burnout prevention requires an organisation to have an inclusive culture and empowered employees,” Jones continues. “It cannot be solved with one week off.”

Instead, Jones encourages corporations to “stop promoting resilience and mindfulness to prevent burnout,” because while mindfulness, like yoga, can help acute stress, the pandemic is causing chronic stress. “Equip employees with tools to effectively manage stress, both in their personal and professional lives,” she suggests. “Invest in employees as people.”

As for Bumble employees, it remains to be seen whether one week off is truly adequate time to properly “recover.”

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