Lifestyle 08.01.18

For company culture’s sake, employees need to take ‘hangover days’

In a display of awesome company culture, ticketing company DICE allowed its staff to take hangover days. Should other companies follow suit?
Kim Connor Streich
Kim Connor Streich

There’s something about awesome company culture that just makes us here at Debut  really happy. Especially inside the London bubble, where you could well-and-truly drown in your career if you allow yourself to. Working life in the capital can really eat up your me-time if you let it, so this company found a pretty nifty way to restore balance – hangover days.

Disruptive digital ticketing company DICE are known for their quirky solutions to the problems of gig life. They do everything from completely paperless ticketing to quick, easy refunds and free events with emerging talent. Well, it turns out they’re just as revolutionary behind the scenes as they are with their app. Last year, they revealed that they will be allowing their staff to take leave from work if they’ve been out at a gig the previous night – something they’re dubbing ‘hangover days’.

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There’s no need for the Golden Globe-worthy sick voice on the phone either. Literally all you have to do to claim your hangover day is text your boss a secret emoji combo (???, obviously) and you’re signed off for the day.

Phil Hutcheon, DICE’s CEO, hopes this will encourage staff to be more honest, as well as embrace the company culture of discovering and enjoying live music beyond “office hours.”

“All our team live for music and some of the best deals in the industry happen after a gig,” he said. “We trust each other and want people to be open if they’re out late experiencing live music. There is no need for a fake sick bug.”

‘Hangover days’ might just sort out the UK’s poorly sick day culture

hangover days

The idea of just throwing in the towel after staying out on the lash all night has split opinion, naturally. Some are all for the progressive policy, while others say it breeds unprofessionalism and a slack attitude towards work. We at Debut feel that UK workers as a whole have  earned this right.

In 2016 alone, 137 million working days were lost due to sickness in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.  Sounds like a maddening amount, but this translates to just 4 days off per worker, the lowest number since records began over 25 years ago.

It seems that many of the workers in the UK still subscribe to the age-old British stoicism and stiff-upper lip mentality of old, only succumbing to their illnesses when they are rendered physically unable to work.

The percentage of those 137 million sick days which blamed colds and other mild illnesses (although there was likely more than a few covert hangovers in there) came to 25%. This was more than double the number of people that cited mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression (11.5%). But that’s not to say that many of the people who struggle with these problems don’t persevere regardless to their eventual detriment.

Taking time off is more important than you think

A common defence for people who struggle with mental illness is to lose themselves in their working lives. Unbeknown to them, this can actually exacerbate these issues, especially during unpaid overtime hours at gigs, events, networking drinks etc.

This can lead to problems down the line, especially if they end up losing their job, such as identity and confidence crises. The best and simplest way to combat this, is to have interests and a strong social life outside of work, which may include – you guessed it – live music and drinking.

So DICE is really and truly ahead of the curve here with their ‘hangover day’ policy. Not only are they defying the toxic ‘sick day’ culture in the UK and staving off health problems like mental burnout, but they breed transparency, trust and happiness – just some of the many culture traits that you should look for in potential employers.

We say, let’s embrace ‘hangover days’. We already do (post team nights-out) and your employer should too. And as Homer Simpson once said: ‘To alcohol, the cause of – and solution to – all of life’s problems’.

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