All of us are slowly coming out of a pandemic. Things have been hard. But, on the bright side, mental health and its concerns are not a taboo as stronger as before. The pandemic gave us a reality check on so many levels. Our lifestyle and wellness undoubtedly topped the list.
Workplaces have become more woke and accountable towards their employees’ mental health. Thus, asking for a day off for your peace of mind while working virtually is more welcoming and acceptable than before.
It is no shame to prioritize your mental health and well being. But, it becomes more important to keep it in check when remote working is a big part of the real world now. It is of greater significance now as coworkers are at distance owing to different geographical boundaries.
Read more on “How to stay connected with your colleagues as a remote worker?”
Mental health also become important while working remotely because the boundaries between personal and professional life are very blurr. Most remote workers find it hard to switch between work and family time. Thus, mental health deserves more concern.
How do you know you need a day off for your mental health?
Before you go ahead and talk to your boss, you need to understand why you need a day off from work at all.
The foremost reason to take a break can be because you feel like taking one. You don’t have to state a logical reason to take a step back from your work life. Especially, if you have been continuously engrossed into it.
Other common reasons to take a mental health day off may be to take the time you need for yourself to recover from a personal incident or situation. It could also be an anxiety attack. You can also take mental health off owing to family issues. It can also be to spend time with your family.
If you are working in an organization that follows a mental health policy and allows paid sick leaves, it wouldn’t be much difficult. But, if your company doesn’t permit paid sick leaves, your employer might have a problem with it.
Hence, taking leaves for mental health concerns should not violate your company’s policy. Also, it shouldn’t be done for lame reasons like binge drinking during the weekend or getting caught up in some other irresponsible situations. Mental health leaves must be reserved for valid reasons.
How to ask your boss for a mental health day off when working virtually?
If you are in a position where you need a mental health day off, consider these best tips to help you put in a refined and strategic leave request. I hope this will make you feel more comfortable while doing it.
1. Plan ahead
This might sound like an obvious recommendation, but planning ahead saves you from a lot of hassle. Plan how you are going to craft your email. Make sure the words you use reflect on your position to take a mental health day off. It is important that you are in the mindset of deserving this leave. Hence, be positive and own it.
2. Check your company’s policy
Before you sit down to finally write and send your request, make sure you are adhering to your company’s policy. The right place to learn more about your company’s sick leave policy is to go through your company’s handbook. The criteria vary according to the size of the employees. However, if your company doesn’t have a dedicated handbook, you must consult your manager or HR.
3. Be clear and concise
Conversations in emails are always susceptible to misunderstanding. As a remote worker, you are used to communicating via emails, messages or video calls. But, for a matter as sensitive as this, you need to be extra careful. Hence, be straightforward in your approach. Don’t write long walls of text to explain the entire situation. Remember, clarity is king. Thus, be clear and concise in your message. Make it short and effective.
4. Ask in advance
There are high chances that your approach toward a mental health leave could be driven by emotions. But, your manager or boss will be thinking more practically. So, instead of bringing this to light as an urgent situation, share it a few days in advance. This will allow your boss to replace your work with another employee for the day if needed. And, it won’t be a last moment chaos for both of you.
5. Don’t go into details
Don’t be obliged to give a detailed description of your mental health status. You don’t have to feel pressured to state it all with specifics. You can expect your boss to be empathetic of your situation but that must not come at the risk of your privacy. Taking a day off for your mental health is as much important as to do that for any physical ailment.
The remote work culture has taken away the power of connectivity from geographical boundaries. While being a remote worker is not the same as working in an office, it doesn’t change that mental health is a part for everyone.
Mental health has a vital role in the proper functioning of our body and life. Somedays we are high in the sky, other days our emotions are deep in the ground. And, somedays we are just above the ground level trying to cope with it all. But amidst all this, it is important to know that it’s okay to not feel okay sometimes.
Asking for a day off for your mental health doesn’t have to make you feel guilty. Irrespective of the reason, provided they are genuine, you must feel free to step forward and start this conversation with your boss or manager.
Your decision about your mental health is personal. But, you ought to consider the points mentioned above. Also, make sure you take your company’s work culture and your relationship with your boss into account before you proceed with the same.