Nike Inc.: Prioritizing Mental Health of Employees during Covid-19 Pandemic

Nike Inc.: Prioritizing Mental Health of Employees during Covid-19 Pandemic
Case Code: HROB209
Case Length: 7 Pages
Period: 2020-2021
Pub Date: 2022
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.200
Organization: Nike Inc.
Industry: Retailing
Countries: United States
Themes: COVID-19, Employee Attitudes & Emotions, Stress & Motivation,Remote Working
Nike Inc.: Prioritizing Mental Health of Employees during Covid-19 Pandemic
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts


The case discusses Nike’s mental health and employee well-being initiatives. For the first week of September 2021, the sportswear giant gave paid leave of one week to its workers at its World headquarters (WHQ) located at Beaverton, Oregon, to ‘de-stress’ and spend time with their family before coming back to office. Since March 2020, most of the employees at Nike’s WHQ had been working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic that started in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, and soon spread to countries across the world. Since there was no cure for the disease, governments, businesses, and consumers took precautions to prevent transmission of the disease. Thus People were forced to stay indoors as lockdowns were imposed in many countries. While this led to many industries suffering losses, the mental health of workers was also badly affected.

Being cooped up at home for such a long time had led too many people in the US experiencing high levels of Covid-19 burnout and job dissatisfaction. It was amidst these challenges that Nike decided to prioritize the mental health of its workers.

Nike had always been an advocate of promoting the mental health of its workers – from following the Summer Fridays initiative wherein its workers could either leave early or take the entire day off on all Fridays between Memorial Day and Labor Day to having an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) where the company offered free counseling to its global workers and their families. In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nike had launched apps for tackling insomnia and anxiety in a bid to provide mental health support to all its employees.

Since the pandemic had changed the workplace dynamics across the world wherein people worked either from home or worked remotely as well as from office, Nike also planned to follow a flexible working model wherein employees at the WHQ would have the option of working remotely two days in a week.

Analysts appreciated Nike for giving a break to its employees and said that it could foster a culture of productivity at the workplace. Since the paid week benefit was not extended to Nike’s retail workers and its stores remained open worldwide, critics opined that the company should extend the paid leave to its retail workers as well who had been working continuously since the physical stores were reopened in May 2020. They suggested that the workers at retail stores be given flexible working hours or allowed to work in shifts to promote work-life balance and maintain their mental health and well-being.


The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • Recognize the concept of employee mental health and well-being at the workplace.
  • Explore strategies how companies can raise awareness about mental health issues at the workplace and destigmatize it.
  • Understand how having employee mental health and well-being initiatives can contribute to employee morale and productivity.
  • Appreciate Nike’s employee mental health and well-being initiatives.
  • Discuss how Nike can extend its mental health care programs to its retail workers especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.



Nike Inc; Covid-19; Employee Assistance Program; Flexible working model; Hybrid working model; Burnout breaks; Lockdown; Stress management; Mental health support; Virtual counseling; Crisis counselors; Summer Fridays; Remote Working; Paid leave; Crisis Text Line

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