It is excellent to see this announcement from such a senior figure in business and from a firm that is no doubt top of many graduates lists of places to work (I certainly remember applying for a placement year!).
The wording is particularly interesting as last year Deloitte's 'Mental health and employers, a refreshing case for investment' report found that presenteeism (not taking time away) costs a company 3.5 times the cost of absence i.e. people are present but less productive (page 15).
Whilst presenteeism is a cost to the business there is also a significant cost to society as presenteeism is a contributor to mental ill-health.
That said, there is a very fine balance to find as studies are also showing that there has been an increase in mental ill-health since more people have started to work from home.
This demonstrates that there is no one size fits all and a personalised approach to mental health is important. The law firm Linklaters are a business who have been trying this through technology and individual wellbeing budgets, for example.
The age of presenteeism — the fear of leaving your desk — is over, according to the boss of one of Britain’s biggest accountancy firms. Kevin Ellis, chairman of PwC, which has 22,000 staff in Britain, said that the shift to working from home caused by Covid-19 had “bashed away presenteeism for ever”.