These Aussie businesses are having ‘tools down days’ to help during lockdown

Carted Mike Angell and Holly Cardew

Carted co-founders Mike Angell and Holly Cardew. Source: supplied.

Australian businesses are choosing to offer their entire teams days off this month, as more employers recognise the immense challenges facing all workers while lockdowns continues across the country. 

While many businesses have made additional paid leave available to employees throughout the pandemic, these businesses are collectively all switching off for the day, quite simply to have a break. 

Go-To Skincare, the cult beauty brand founded by Zoë Foster Blake, shared on LinkedIn on Thursday that everyone at the company would be having a “tools down day to reset and recharge” today.  

The Sydney-headquartered company is also providing meals from The Dinner Ladies to all its staff next week too, “to take a little bit of the pressure off Lockdown Life”. 

“At Go-To, our team is our most treasured asset. And we’re delighted to do what we can to support our staff through an overwhelming time,” said the company. 

Similarly, Holly Cardew, founder of Pixc and co-founder of Carted, also shared last week that all of her employees would be taking the two following Wednesdays off, “just because”. 

“Lockdown is hard. I am forever grateful for my situation but what I realised this week is that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your situation is, it is still a challenge,” Cardew wrote on LinkedIn. 

“When building a company and being a founder there are no guidelines, no playbooks … The best thing is that you get to make the rules.”

“A reminder to my founder friends and business owners: you can do what you want to do and also what is best for your team at the time,” she added.

Carted currently has a team of 13 people and Cardew told SmartCompany Wednesdays were selected for the team “to not only break up the week but also give them the opportunity to rest, take a break and connect for when they need it most”. 

“Work and personal life have been blending together in the recent months, which has had a major impact on both our physical and mental health,” she says.

“In these new restricted times, it calls for a different work-life balance so we wanted to try and find a way to make a tough situation as good as it can be.”

Cardew says the pandemic has challenged the Carted founders to find new ways of working and taking care of their team, and while there is no right way to do this, for them, taking the Wednesdays off is “a small action to make our team’s wellbeing a priority”. 

Leanne Faulkner, a small business mental health advocate and owner of Fortitude at Work, welcomed the decisions by these businesses, telling SmartCompany that taking a day off is an excellent strategy for business owners to restore their own “resilience reserves”. 

“Small business owners typically feel a huge sense of responsibility for anyone who is connected to their business and this means we often think that when times are tough we need to work harder to overcome the situation,” says Faulkner. 

“In fact, usually the opposite is true! When times are tough we need to take a break and give ourselves an opportunity to build our resilience muscle by practicing some self-care routines”. 

Faulkner says the same is true for employees. 

“Down time provides space to focus on other things and when it’s time to return to work, you may have a different and more creative solution to the problem at hand,” she says. 

“It might seem counter-intuitive but sometimes downtime boosts work-time!”

If you or someone you know is at risk, contact: Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636; Lifeline on 13 11 14; Headspace on 1800 650 890; or The Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

You can also reach Beyond Blue’s COVID-19 support line on 1800 512 348 and access small business mental health resources via the My Business Health website

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