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Offering additional leave for worker health and wellbeing: ReachOut 

Read about Reflection Leave, an initiative by ReachOut that gives workers 5 days of leave each year to focus on personal health and wellbeing.   

Reach Out
  • ReachOut is a leading digital youth mental health service, helping young people feel better.   
  • The organisation offers Reflection Leave—up to 5 days of leave each year that workers can use for health and wellbeing and supporting their personal development. Reflection Leave encourages workers to prioritise their wellbeing and dedicate time to participate in experiential, reflective exercises.  
  • Anecdotal feedback from workers is positive. They feel more comfortable being open about their health and wellbeing at work.   

ReachOut is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians. Their workplace structure is flexible, recently launching the Fabulous Flexibility Policy so everyone can find the right balance between home and work. 

They bring teams together for moments to collaborate and connect intentionally, and workers can choose their daily work structure depending on their life and outside commitments. ReachOut also encourages workers to conduct most of their work meetings between the ‘core hours’ of 10am and 4pm, leaving the typically busy morning and afternoon periods open for family and other external commitments.  

Reflection Leave is 5 additional leave days each year to focus on health and wellbeing. Established by ReachOut founder Jack Heath, the initiative encourages workers to undertake conscious reflective practices that support their health and wellbeing: it may be a formal course, teachings or retreat, or it may be self-designed time on one's own.  

A challenge for ReachOut is ensuring an approval system that holds true to the meaning of Reflection Leave. The organisation implemented a documentation process where the worker succinctly documents what they’re doing, where they’re going and what elements of reflection are involved. This approach ensures workers take the time to truly reflect and establishes the parameters for the policy’s intended use.   

Approved activities for Reflection Leave have included a 5-day retreat, a one-day meditation and mindfulness course, a multi-day hike in Tasmania, scuba diving in Indonesia and a self-guided personal development week.   

“There needs to be elements where there are moments of reflection, moments for disconnecting and moments for spending time thinking about their wellbeing.” Olivia Goodchild, Senior Manager People and Culture at ReachOut.    

 Since introducing Reflection Leave, ReachOut’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP) has improved. It has become a more desirable employer by embedding its core values in policy with a practicable application for incoming and existing workers.  

The organisation uses communication channels to encourage workers to take Reflection Leave to keep the initiative active. People sharing their experiences and photos on the internal instant messaging system helps show those hesitant to take the leave that they are allowed to take time for themselves.   

“I think the risk is that people don’t take the time in an already busy year. So that encouragement, promotion and permission to take the time are really important,” says Olivia Goodchild, Senior Manager for People and Culture.   

She also has some advice for other organisations thinking about implementing initiatives like Reflection Leave. In particular, the initiative must align with your organisation’s core values and EVP. ReachOut’s ethos centres around mental health and wellbeing; Reflection Leave mirrors this core value and strengthens its message as an organisation and employer.   

If you are interested in implementing an initiative like Reflection Leave, but need some help, Ms Goodchild has kindly offered her support. You can find her here

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • All locations
  • Published 25 Jul 2023
  • Updated 25 Jul 2023