By Cara Aungst
Videon’s monthly mental health days give employees time to explore the outdoors, visit family and friends and take time for themselves. PHOTO: Centre Daily Times.
Mental Health. Burnout. These are not just terms. These are real problems faced by many.
Those were the opening lines of a recent LinkedIn post from Videon’s founder, president and chair Todd Erdley. The topic is familiar to all of us — millions of American workers are grappling with burnout as they navigate a new world in the workplace. But the rest of the post wasn’t filled with statistics, opinions or platitudes. It was about creating a new path to break the cycle of burnout for Videon talent.
“Tomorrow is our first mental health day where everyone at Videon has a day off,” Erdley wrote on June 23. “No work. No emails. No Zoom. It is a day focused on positivity. We encourage people to do something different that puts a smile on their face. Sleep in. Read a book. Visit a relative. Go for a walk. Make a difference to your community. It is a day for you, about you.”
And the day off was just the beginning — Erdley announced that Videon would be dedicating one day a month to mental health, positivity and “doing something different.”
“This new mental health day is just one part of an entire benefits rollout,” HR director Lauren Weigold said. “It included a salary lift as a response to the cost of living, stock option adjustments and a new, fresh look at Videon’s PTO policy. With everything that’s going on in the world, we wanted to take a competitive stance to ensure that we were properly aligned to retain and recruit top talent.”
Videon surveyed its employees and while there were mentions about market salaries, more employees were talking about benefits than salary. “There were several responses about it and we wanted to create an answer to these inquiries in a cutting-edge fashion,” Weigold said.
From the survey — and some inspiration from a conference talk about burnout — the new mental health day idea was born. On the third Friday of each month, the entire company collectively disconnects from work, so no missed meetings, Zoom calls or emails to worry about. It’s strategically scheduled for a Friday, to allow for a three-day weekend.
And if the first mental health day is any indication, the new policy will make an impact on breaking the cycle of burnout.
“When people are taking care of themselves, recharging their batteries, they have more to offer in the workplace,” Joe Lee, a quality control specialist, said. “It allows for fresh perspectives, clearer thinking and renewed motivation.”
"With everything that’s going on in the world, we wanted to take a competitive stance to ensure that we were properly aligned to retain and recruit top talent.”
Lee said he and his family took an impromptu trip to the Columbus Zoo thanks to the first mental health day. “It was a great trip where we were able to enjoy some much-needed family time. A big focus for me for the day was completely disconnecting from work and really connecting with my boys. I am already looking forward to the next mental health day,” he said.
Tina Angellotti, director of Videon’s reseller channel, said having everyone out of the office on the same day added to the benefit. “If you were to choose the day, the rest of the company would still be working and you may be needed for a brief time to help with something critical,” she said. “Even though it might be only a 10-minute task, your brain will continue to think about work. Being closed means everyone can disconnect from work completely.”
She said, during the inaugural mental health day, she slept in, got a 90-minute massage and then indulged in some retail therapy. “It was nice to just focus on me,” she said.
“Coming from a military background, I can tell you that mental health is so critical to a successful mission,” Weigold added. “We can’t be productive unless we’re together. Creating an opportunity for everyone to recharge is a step in that direction.”
Erdley agreed: “Breaking the cycle of burnout and improving mental health starts with doing something different.”