The US company REI has decided to offer its staff something really rather different: an extra two days of holiday, albeit with a simple caveat. The extra holiday days must be enjoyed outdoors.
Staff working at REI currently receive 20 holiday days as basic, but can get up to two more, which the company have nicknamed ‘Yay Days’. These appear to be the antithesis of what some companies offer: namely, Duvet Days, where staff can choose to spend a day in bed or lounging on the sofa. Instead, the idea of a Yay Day is that staff spend two days getting back to nature, in whatever way they choose.
This may appear somewhat didactic, but many of us wouldn’t complain about being given a day off to get some fresh air, brush off the cobwebs, and have a much-needed rest from technology.
In the UK, 20 days is the minimum holiday days a worker would receive (not including bank holidays), whereas in the US, 20 holiday days would generally be considered quite high, with many employers offering just 10 or 15 paid holiday days a year.
Therefore, the US-based REI is a clear leader when it comes to generous staff packages by offering staff 22 holiday days in total. In order to be awarded a Yay Day, staff must fill out a Yay form and hand it to their boss. This days could be used for anything from a mountain hike to a simple dog walk. Furthermore, staff can get up to 50% off outdoor activity gear in order to enjoy their day for less.
The REI Ethos
This unusual move comes from a company that already sets itself apart by being a cooperative, which means that the profits are shared by members rather than paid to shareholders. REI is an outdoor sports gear and equipment retailer, and the company’s ethos is very much built around enjoying the outdoors and having a positive attitude. The cooperative is well-known for being a fair and generous employee, featuring on Glassdoor’s Best Companies to Work for in the US list.
Will Yay Days become commonplace in the US in the future and will they catch on the UK? With mental health issues amongst UK staff at an all-time high, employers could do a lot worse than provide two extra days to allow workers the chance to get back to nature.
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