A medical information company in Georgia, USA has been adding two long weekends to their calendar. It also surveyed its workers to track their well-being and to ensure that the company isn’t putting too much pressure on its workers. But can these wellness days really help?

Providing pop-up holidays is a means for companies to take care of their employees. American business and employment-oriented online service LinkedIn conducts quarterly surveys about their workers’ welfare during the pandemic. “People were working longer hours, not taking their vacation time and just churning through. We had a successful, productive organisation, but we knew our employees were being burnt out,” Lisa Finnegan, the vice president of the company’s international human resources, said. The company gives surprise day offs to their employees such as Friday rest days or days without meetings, which garnered positive receptions. According to a professor of organizational behavior at Ontario’s University of Guelph and workplace wellness expert Jamie Gruman, the element of surprise is valuable to workers; it implies that the company cares for its employees. However, impromptu holidays can result in unintended consequences if not planned carefully. For example, short notices may cause undue stress to working parents because they scramble to take advantage of the surprise wellness days. These pop-up holidays may only be generally effective to those who are single.

Impromptu time-offs can reap benefits. But it’s only fruitful if the workforce sees it as a genuine gesture from the company. Otherwise, employees might believe that the company does it to discourage them from taking more time in the upcoming working days. In short, the company must have its workers’ best interests at heart.