Publicis Sapient gives its employees a day off work in October and encourages them not to book meetings on Friday afternoons


Employees and contractors of the digital consultancy Publicis Sapient are being offered a day off in October in honor of World Mental Health Day, an idea that emerged from a task group committee made up of people from across the organization. Employees are also being encouraged to stop work at three every Friday throughout the month of October as part of company’s “Free at Three” initiative.

“At Publicis Sapient, our people show up, and that’s never been more evident than in the last year and half.  We also want to make sure they take time for themselves.  Our people’s mental wellbeing is an ongoing priority for us, culminating in some new initiatives that we’re introducing this year.  We respect that everyone seeks to achieve mental wellness differently and offer a diverse range of programs and resources to address individuals’ needs and preferences,” said Publicis Sapient CEO Nigel Vaz.  

Mental health is equally as important to Publicis Sapient as physical health. The organization strives to foster a mental health-friendly culture that encourages a diverse range of well-being and a long-term workforce that is healthy, happy, and productive. Hence, it provides a wide range of mental health and wellness initiatives, learning opportunities, and resources to its employees in order to raise awareness about mental health and create a safe space for people to talk about it and feel supported to express themselves fully at work.

  1. Mental Wellbeing Ambassadors: (MWAs)— a strong network of 13 compassionate listeners within the organization, who have been professionally trained by a renowned partner ‘Human Edge’ to listen without judgement and point people in the right direction for professional treatment, while keeping everything communicated with them confidential.
  1. Internal Anonymous Helpline – An anonymous mental health helpline to enable anyone at Publicis Sapient to speak openly and anonymously with a PS Mental Wellbeing Ambassador (MWA) and receive practical counsel for their concerns and anxieties. The final anonymous calling session had a large crowd, with over 35 talks taking place.
  1. VOX Page – A digital platform, which serves as a central repository for all mental health materials such as reminders, post updates, knowledge bytes, counselling information, and amigo notifications, among other things. Since its introduction, the platform has attracted over 2000 visits.
  1. EAPs: (Employee Aid Programs (EAPs) help anyone in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as self-help tools such as articles, evaluations, and treatment recommendations, as well as seminars, workshops, and wellness coaching. This year, employees and their families have received 341 1:1 counselling session, 11 wellness coaching sessions, 70 self-assessments and publications, and grief counselling team sessions since the service’s inception.
  1. Mental health playbook that serves as a catalyst for all thing’s mental health. Since its release, the playbook has been downloaded over 450 times.
  1. Enablement of Leaders through ILT Workshop— An experience workshop for Publicis Sapient ILT, providing a secure venue for people to communicate their issues, thoughts, feelings, and opinions Leaders unlocked biohacks that they can use in their daily lives and encourage their employees to do the same in order to better handle difficult emotions and take a step toward establishing more resilient teams.
  1. Thematic campaigns on wellness to include weekly twice sessions on Yoga, nutrition and physical fitness, selfcare, mental health detox & managing grief, work life balance, engaging 2000+ people.
  1. Consistent & thoughtful communication to remind people that their organization cares for them. some examples include wellness Wednesday emails on selfcare, MWA spotlight stories, mental health playbook emails, daily meditation, calming zoom backgrounds, panel conversations with leaders to normalize conversations around mental wellbeing
  1. Reflective Thought Boxes –containing journal prompts, habit loops & other mental wellbeing related resources have been curated to ensure ambassadors & champions have enough resources to apply their learnings
  1. MediBuddy Gold Subscription – free & unlimited consultation (including psychiatric support for self & family). It also hosts podcasts, webinars & articles about mental wellbeing