In an attempt to stem off high rates of quitting and burnout amongst American workers, Nike headquarters management last week took an unconventional approach in the form of a week off to focus on mental health.
Matt Marrazzo, a senior manager at Nike, posted on LinkedIn two weeks ago that all Nike HQ staff would have the following week off.
This week off comes on top of the already truncated "summer hours."
"Nike HQ is also powering down for a full week off starting next Monday. Our senior leaders are all sending a clear message: Take the time to unwind, destress and spend time with your loved ones. Do not work," wrote Marrazzo.
"It's times like this that I'm so grateful to be a part of this team. In a year (or two) unlike any other, taking time for rest and recovery is key to performing well and staying sane. This past year has been rough - we're all human! and living through a traumatic event! - but I'm hopeful that the empathy and grace we continue to show our teammates will have a positive impact on the culture of work moving forward," he continued.
Marrazzo noted that the week off is more than just time off, "it's an acknowledgment that we can prioritize mental health and still get work done."
According to The Wall Street Journal, the move comes amidst the highest number of US workers quitting their jobs in the last two decades.
While many people commenting on Mazzarro’s post agreed with his decision, some voiced their concerns regarding retail employees and the upcoming holiday shopping season.
"That’s nice. Are you closing retail locations for the week as well so retail employees can also get a much needed paid break?" Jason Layton wrote.
"Do the child laborers around the world also get a week off?" Lance O. slammed.
"The people touting this as a great message and direction have senior level titles after their names. You all seem a bit removed from reality I would say. The holiday seasons is just around the corner and Nike stores will surely make their employees sacrifice spending time with friends and family for those Black Friday sales. By the way prior 6 year Nike store leader, so I know the game," wrote Anthony Bernie Williams.
"Spare me how Nike is showing up to show they care.You have employees struggling to make ends meat (sic), dealing with the stresses of life and you’re here bragging about how you get more paid time off than most retail/factory workers do anyways. They don’t have that luxury. Very humble of you though for posting," he continued.
Nike has long been accused of benefitting from forced labor. A report from the government-affiliated think-tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) found in 2020 between 2017-2019, "the Chinese government relocated at least 80,000 Uyghurs from Xinjiang in western China to factories across the country where they work 'under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour.' What's more, it says the manufacturers using these transported Uyghurs supply at least 83 international companies making everything from footwear to electronics," Quartz reported.
The Washington Post came to a conclusion in 2020, after the examination of "hundreds of government documents and state media reports describing the Uighur workers’ lives far from home," that "They have limited freedom of movement, typically live in segregated dormitories, undergo organized Mandarin and ideological training outside working hours, and are forbidden from participating in religious observances. Every 50 transferred workers are assigned one government minder, and in some cases, police officers. They are watched by facial recognition technology and a specially designed app on their phones. Government officials conduct surveillance and report on their thoughts."