Why Procurated Has a Monthly Mental Health Day

From day one, Procurated has had an unlimited vacation policy – as long as you are getting your work done, take time off when and how you need it. No questions asked.  

But as weeks turned into months of COVID-19-induced shutdowns in 2020, Procurated Founder and CEO David Yarkin noticed the team was taking less vacation than usual. Blame it on what you please: blurred work and personal time while working from home; parents playing catchup due to lack of child care; a mindset of, “there’s nowhere to go, anyway, so why should I take off?” 

And so Mental Health Days were born. For each month that does not have a federal holiday, Yarkin closes the office one Friday that month.  Check out our post on LinkedIn to see how the team spent their day off in August 2020 and January 2021

Compared to simply encouraging team members to take more PTO, Yarkin saw several advantages to instead closing the office:  

1. Guilt-free time to disconnect 

No one should ever feel guilty for taking time off. But the stats don’t lie: in a recent TurnKey Vacation Rentals survey, 54% of U.S. full-time workers reported feeling guilty about taking vacation time either sometimes, often or always. 

That guilt often stems from fear of blocking progress or being judged for not working. When no one in the company is working, both of these concerns are a moot. Turn off your laptop and enjoy your day, guilt-free. 

2. People actually take time off 

Another stat: according to the 2019 Priceline Work-Life Balance Report, a full third of Americans report leaving more than half of their paid days off unused.  

Giving more PTO is well-intentioned, but doesn’t always equate to team members actually taking more time off. Yarkin knew that to ensure his team took a much-deserved break, he needed to do something more drastic. And it turns out, when you close the office, people actually don’t work.  

They go on a hike, get their hair cut, spend time with loved ones, start a vacation early. When employees are told to take this day off, they do.  

3. Return on Monday engaged and recharged 

Paid time off has long been linked with employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. When the team came back to work on Monday, everyone was energized from the long weekend and excited to get back to work. 

And for whatever reason, “How’d you spend your Mental Health Day?” is a whole lot more fun to ask than, “How was your weekend?”

Check out how the team spent their Mental Health Days in August 2020 and January 2021!