Publicis Groupe Australia and New Zealand has today announced it will close its doors for the day on October 10, in support of World Mental Health Day.
The 1,800 employees of the marketing, communication and digital transformation group will be given the day off as part of a broader mental health program in Australia and New Zealand.
Says Michael Rebelo, CEO, Publicis Groupe ANZ: “Publicis Groupe is absolutely committed to ensuring our people can thrive in a mentally healthy workplace.”
The program is being driven by Publicis Groupe ANZ’s Next Generation Board. One of the board’s aims is to create a positive community impact by identifying and addressing social initiatives that intersect with the business. The New Zealand-based members of the Next Generation board are: Emma Inglis (Starcom), Sarah Woolerton (Digitas Affinity ID), Sarah Vosloo (MBM) and Ajay Murthy (Saatchi & Saatchi).
The program also includes quarterly happiness health check surveys used to develop wellness initiatives, mental health first aid training, an employee assistance program, and a broader series of events leading up to 10 October, including yoga, meditation and boxing classes for staff; as well as ongoing initiatives throughout the year.
The mental health program covers Publicis Groupe’s businesses including Arc, Digitas, Digitas Affinity ID, Herd MSL, Leo Burnett, Marcel, MBM, MercerBell, Performics, Prodigious, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Sport & Entertainment, Saatchi & Saatchi, Spark Foundry, Starcom and Zenith.
Employees with critical commitments on World Mental Health Day will be able to opt out and instead enjoy another day off this year.
Says Pauly Grant, chief talent officer, Publicis Groupe ANZ: “The happiness and health of our people is paramount to Publicis Groupe, and we wanted to give our people the day to reflect and focus on their own mental health.”
Publicis Groupe Next Generation Board member Bianca Wallis said the mental health program was inspired by research from the social purpose organisation UnLtd and Publicis Groupe ANZ’s own staff surveys.
Says Wallis: “For the Next Generation Board’s first initiative, we felt it was critical to focus on something that could have an immediate, direct impact on our talent. We knew we could do that by focusing on mental wellness and happiness.”
World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.