For all the talk about improving the culture within the office, the quality of time employees spend away from their desks can have a much bigger impact on employee engagement and, as a result, businesses are increasingly looking for ways to help staff find a better work-life balance.
Molson Coors has gone a step further. The Burton-based, UK arm of the global Canadian brewing group now offers staff two extra weeks of paid leave a year on top of their standard 31 days of annual leave.
Rather than simply being an extension of holiday, ‘Life Leave’ can be taken either in installments or as multiple days and is intended to be used for significant moments that often crop up at short notice, such as going to see the school play, taking the dog to the vet or moving house.
The aim, says Adam Firby, Molson Coors’ UK and Ireland HR director, is to boost well being and overall staff productivity. "Holiday is about resting, it's about relaxing, it's about switching off from work and we recognise that outside of that other things in life happen," he says. "This is about balance."
Leave is determined on an individual basis between a staff member and their line manager who has final approval and, in some situations, says Firby, could be extended beyond two weeks.
The policy was introduced based on feedback from the firm’s 2000 staff and is part of the company’s wider Moments That Matter programme, which also includes the introduction of summer hours enabling employees to compress their work week into four days.
It was only introduced on 1st July, so at this stage it’s hard to assess the true impact on the business, but the company doesn't expect the policy to prove a distraction and, Firby explains, any additional absences will be handled in the same way that the firm deals with sickness.
"A lot of companies are already doing lots of stuff like this, but for us this is just about formalising the flexibility and bringing a bit more permission into the organisation."
Earlier this year the firm received a silver accolade for its approach to wellbeing by mental health charity MIND and is now focusing on ways to make the company more flexible for parents.