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NYT to give employees 'Global Days Off' to address burnout

NYT to give employees 'Global Days Off' to address burnout
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New York Times executives informed staff on Wednesday that employees will receive several “Global Days Off” this year to deal with the stress of working during the coronavirus pandemic and other national crises.

“Recognizing how hard the past year has felt, we’re announcing the launch of quarterly Global Days Off for the remaining three quarters of 2021,” the paper said in a memo signed by executive editor Dean Baquet, CEO and president Meredith Levien and EVP and chief HR officer Jacqueline Welch.

“The goal of the Global Day Off is to create a few moments to reset as we have just come through a difficult period that has produced a sense of exhaustion, burnout, and a need for respite for many,” the memo said.

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The days off are scheduled for May 14, Aug. 13 and Nov. 5 and will be in addition to existing vacation time, personal days and holidays.

Employees who cannot take those days off, such as reporters, printing press and website staffers, will instead get an extra day off to use in each of those quarters.

Instituting a companywide day off, as opposed to having staffers simply use vacation days, is meant to “meaningfully reduce the flow of emails, Slacks and texts, and give everyone a quiet day to refresh,” the executives wrote.

Employees had previously been granted five additional sick days for 2020 and 2021 and a two-week quarantine period for exposure to COVID-19.

In the memo, the Times also offered more details about how it was planning to reopen its newsroom in the fall, announcing that employees will be allowed to work remotely two days a week.

“We’re designing a workplace for hybrid work to succeed, through updates to our physical spaces, our technology and our norms,” the memo stated.

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A spokesperson for the Times said the company expects "to begin a phased return to the office for most employees on Sept. 7."

Several journalists at other publications have recently announced they were quitting their jobs due to burnout, including Megan Greenwell, a Wired.com editor, and Scott Rosenfield, Wired’s site director in charge of digital strategy.

In addition, Stacy-Marie Ishmael and Millie Tran, the editorial director and chief product officer, respectively, for the Texas Tribune both cited burnout as their reasons for leaving.

Updated at 12:13 p.m.