• LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google+

Someone gets the true spirit of personal days

Get PDF file

by on
in Leaders & Managers,People Management

This month’s award for Best Communicator goes to Ben Congleton, founder and CEO of Olark for showing what real empathy and support look like.

When Madalyn, a web developer, emailed her co-workers and the CEO this message: “I’m taking today and tomorrow to focus on my mental health. Hopefully, I will be back next week refreshed and back to 100%,” she received a surprising response from the CEO.

While many managers might see this as a ploy to simply take time off, question the value of taking “mental health days” or even refuse to allow employees to use PTO in that way, Congleton took a much different approach. His response:

“Hey Madalyn, 

I just wanted to personally thank you for sending emails like this. Every time you do, I use it as a reminder of the importance of using sick days for mental health. I can’t believe this is not standard practice at all organizations. You are an example to us all and help cut through the stigma so we can all bring our whole selves to work.” 

This is the kind of support we all should be providing employees, co-workers—even our boss. On one hand, vacation and PTO are a component of their compensation. If they’ve earned time off, they should be able to use it as needed. Period. 

However, more important, everyone around you is fighting their own battles. A little empathy, understanding and care can a long way to developing trust, teamwork and loyalty—and you just can’t put a price on that. 

Leave a Comment