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With the globe constantly on its feet, it is easy to get lost in the buzz of it all – working, taking care of family, paying bills and providing for our loved ones. It is almost second nature for us to get so submerged in this simulation that we hardly ever take a moment to reflect on ourselves and our state of wellbeing. We fold our stresses and emotions neatly away in our pockets.

This, unfortunately, is a bigger problem that it seems. A study by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) stated that one in six South Africans suffer from anxiety, depression or substance-use problems. It is important to note that this does not include more serious conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. For these reasons, Cisco has taken it upon itself to create an initiative entitled: ‘A Day for Me’ dedicated to its employees.

Although, Cisco have always been ahead of the curve regarding remote working, it has taken note of the pressures COVID-19 and remote working has put upon its employees and has decided to close all their operations on Friday, the 22nd of May. An internal public holiday if you will. Fran Katsoudas, Cisco’s Chief People Officer communicated to all employees about t this initiative and encouraged the team to feel good about unplugging from work to focus on their health and well-being.

This initiative is just one of many solutions Cisco has provided to its internal team. The company also encourages mental health check-ins during meetings; mindfulness and resilience training to preserve the health of its employees as well as an Employee Assistance Programme that gives the office an opportunity to manage work-related stress and other personal challenges.

In Fran’s message to all employees she stated, “It might feel like there are so many reasons not to take a day off. There are few places to go, people need us, and we enjoy our work. Our weeks and weekends are blurring together. Yet there is one reason to unplug: ourselves.”