To support employees through the many personal and professional challenges of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, LinkedIn Corp. recently provided its global workforce with a week off to rest, recharge or have some fun.

“The world is confronting unprecedented challenges, but as leaders, we have a unique opportunity to build more connection and engagement across communities,” said Nina McQueen, the company’s vice-president of employee experience and benefits, in an email interview with Benefits Canada. “At LinkedIn, we think this is especially critical, as we know our biggest asset is our employees.”

Read: Twitter’s monthly #DaysofRest initiative helping prevent employee burnout amid pandemic

The social media company dubbed the one-time paid-time-off program RestUp! week, and it was launched this year as a part of its larger LiftUp! initiative and provided employees with a company-wide additional paid week off from April 5-9, said McQueen.

“According to external survey data from a Glint study, global manager burnout jumped 78 per cent between the first and fourth quarters of 2020,” said Teuila Hanson, LinkedIn’s senior vice-president and chief people officer, in an email interview. “With this in mind, to help employees feel supported at LinkedIn, we created LiftUp! an initiative designed to support our employees and managers with mental health and wellness resources and initiatives during this extended work-from-home period.”

Read: Home Depot expanding paid time off, doubling overtime pay

Knowing the extended isolation from working from home is taking a toll on some employees, the company decided to also provide voluntary daily activities during RestUp! week. Employees who chose to participate could take advantage of volunteer or giving-back opportunities and LinkedIn hosted a one-hour live variety show mid-week for its employees.

The company isn’t the only organization introducing additional paid time off for employees amid the pandemic. In June 2020, Twitter, Inc. launched its monthly #DaysofRest program, which provides one day off each month for all employees to rest and recharge. And Home Depot Inc. expanded paid time off for all its hourly workers, with the additional hours to be used at their discretion or paid out at year-end if unused. In addition, Manulife Financial Corp. and its subsidiary John Hancock gave 35,000 employees the day off on May 29 last year.

Read: Manulife giving 35,000 staff day off as thank you

Since RestUp! week, McQueen said LinkedIn has received positive feedback from employees about the initiative via comments from the company’s employee voice surveys to measure wellness and happiness and posts on the company’s private group on its platform.

“This time off gave us yet another opportunity to take care of ourselves and put our well-being first. There is something magical about the entire company taking a break at the same time,” said McQueen. “And the best part? Not coming back to an avalanche of unanswered internal emails.”

Read: U.S. employers tweaking vacation, paid-time-off policies amid pandemic: survey