Dating app Bumble offers employees the week off to recover from burnout

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US dating app Bumble has become the latest global firm to make a large step in helping employees mental health.

The dating app where women make the first move, has temporarily closed all of its offices this week to combat workplace stress. The company announced in April ‘that all Bumble employees will have a paid, fully offline one-week vacation in June’.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd hit the headlines earlier this year when she was the driving force behind the listing on the New York Stock Exchange in February, raising $2.2bn in its IPO.

When Bumble went public, the 31-year-old Founder became the youngest woman to lead a company through an IPO. The board at the firm is currently made up of 73% women – something which is largely unprecedented in the tech sector across the world.

Bumble reported revenues of more than $376m last year and net losses in excess of $84.1m.

Industry reaction

Alistair Dornan, Director, Organisational Wellbeing Consulting, Gallagher said: “Now more than ever, businesses need to actively prioritise employee mental wellbeing – especially the very real effects of burn out. The people within an organisation are now the differentiator, so it is vital visible steps are taken by leaders to prevent excessive employee stress. Taking tangible action – such as fully flexible working, offering mental health days or providing access to professional resources – sends a credible signal to employees that sometimes, it’s ok not to be ok.”

“In fact, statistics indicate that mental health-related absence drops by 19% when senior leadership addresses the stigma surrounding it. As a business or HR leader, it is incredibly important to visibly support your employees because your future workforce will take notice.”

“When you are a people-driven business, you can’t be awesome without your employees working to their full potential. As a company, it’s about finding the most effective ways to encourage that. The demonstration of empathy and the promotion of openness is the bedrock of an attractive organizational culture, particularly when it comes to talent retention.”

Chris Parke, CEO of Talking Talent, comments: “This is a fantastic move from Bumble, and no doubt welcome news for staff who have successfully navigated a meteoric twelve months. Bumble is a prime example of an organisation that is people-focused to its core. They look after their staff, treat them as individuals and understand that you don’t just leave life at the office door.

“Business leaders reading this latest announcement and hoping to emulate Bumble’s success should start by looking beyond the headline-grabbing perks, however, which are the icing on the cake and should not be confused with culture. While perks are a nice bonus for staff, they only go so far and need to be built on a foundation of substance. A culture must be nurtured over time and truly tackle potential obstacles for success for staff, such as burnout or responsibilities like childcare.

“Bumble has already put the work in, but leaders who have not will appear insincere if they skip the hard part. They should instead follow Bumble’s lead in building up a culture that recognises the pressures on staff and looks to resolve them, for the long term.

Simon Blake, Chief Executive of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England said: “We commend Bumble for taking this action and giving all of their employees the opportunity to prioritise their wellbeing.  Research from the World Health Organisation found that 23% of full time workers in the UK were frequently operating in ‘burnout mode’ in the workplace – and that’s before the pandemic. At MHFA England, we value and recognise the importance of the wellbeing of our staff. As part of our goal to be an exemplar employer, we give staff two Wellbeing Weeks (one in the summer and one at the end of the year), on top of their annual leave allowance.

“Now more than ever, employers need to recognise the importance of annual leave and taking time off to relax and recuperate. Employees experiencing burnout are likely to feel depleted of energy and exhausted from coping with an increased workload and stress for an extended period of time. It can result in reduced productivity and negative feelings or complete apathy towards one’s job. This can impact a whole team if not managed appropriately. We hope more employers will follow suit and update their mental health and wellbeing policies. The healthier and happier the workforce the more productive employees will be in the long term.”

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