Havas Media and Bastion to tackle mental health with days-off

Havas Media is taking a group wide ‘Hava-Rest Day’ today, Thursday 2 September, in order for its staff to relax, recharge and unwind.

This is to be mirrored at independent outfit Bastion, which is giving employees a ‘Bastion Happy Day’, an additional day of annual leave each month, when there is not already a long weekend, starting with ‘Super Happy Day’ tomorrow, which will see all of Bastion’s offices will close for the day.

Havas Media Group CEO Virginia Hyland said the decision to give staff additional time off is in response to the strain that the ongoing conditions is placing on mental health across the industry.

Havas Media Group CEO, Virginia Hyland

Hyland said: “As our industry knows too well, it is very difficult to take a day off and not be bombarded with the on-going stream of emails and team meetings. More than ever, looking after our mental health is exceptionally important so we have decided that September 2nd will be Hava-Rest Day for the whole Havas Media team.”

“We will all down tools together so that everyone can truly enjoy the beginning of spring and take a day out for themselves.”

Jack Watts, global CEO at Bastion said: “Happy Days are a chance for our staff to take a break, relax and recharge. We know that’s more important than ever and we want to ensure that everyone at Bastion has the opportunity to focus on themselves and what makes them Happy.”

At Bastion, Happy Days was originally devised at Bastion Amplify, the PR and social media agency, and was then adopted by teams as an agency-wide initiative. CEO of Bastion Amplify, Richard Chapman said it is another way the agency can show its support to its employees and thank them for their contribution to the business, and the pressures they face every day.

Global CEO at Bastion, Jack Watts

Watts also said that this is a long-term initiative, that will extend beyond the current lockdowns, meaning that every month will have a long weekend for staff.

“We know right now, everyone needs a break, however once lockdowns end, we hope Happy Days are a chance for our people to plan mini-breaks, long weekends away and time with family and friends.”

Hyland said that she contacted Havas Media’s clients to advise them of the initiative, and to request that they refrain from contacting the team on ‘Hava-Rest Day’, and all were supportive of the idea.

Senior account director at Havas Sports & Entertainment, Patrick Millington Buck said: “There is a lot of talk about investment, measurement & ROI in our industry but we often overlook the most important metric of all. Our mental health. Hava-Rest Day is a great initiative to address this and it’s inspiring to be a part of.”

Havas SEO and content executive, Tegan Salter, said: “There aren’t too many reasons these days to take time off – with no special occasions or vacations planned. This gives the chance to mix up the weekly routine and unwind for a day. Even if it means staying in a 5km radius, it’s a good chance to get outside and gives us all a little something to look forward to.”

In addition to Happy Days, Bastion Insights has released a research report, finding that seven in ten people in Victoria and NSW feel that COVID is “significantly impacting their life”, this number up from less than six in ten three months ago. The report also found that almost three in ten Australians feel anxious most, or all of the time.

Last week, Dare Iced Coffee partnered with Australian harm prevention charity R U OK? to feature a R U OK? message on limited editions of the coffee brand.

Mood Tea has launched its first consumer-facing campaign, ‘Sip selflessly’, created by The Monkeys, after launching earlier this year as an industry initiative with UnLtd, with the profits going towards youth suicide prevention charities.


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