Canada Goose Gives Employees 1 Hour a Week to Play Outside—and Hopes American Companies Will Follow

New initiative extolls the benefits of outdoor recreation, and perhaps a good coat to go with it

canada goose
Chinese-Canadian actor Shawn Dou goes for a walk in his Canada Goose jacket, part of the brand's effort to inspire more people to leave the house. Canada Goose

One of the unfortunate outgrowths of the 42% of the American populace working from home is their tendency to stay there.

Even though office workers logging in from home offices get to skip their commutes, they also end up working three additional hours every day while staying home, according to data from NordVPN. What’s more, the American Psychiatric Association has reported that teleworking carries a significant risk of anxiety, stress and other drains on mental health.

There’s no easy solution for this problem, of course. And most of us wouldn’t expect one to come from an apparel company. But Canada Goose has decided to wade into this issue with an interesting perk—at least, one for its own employees. The company has instituted a program it calls the HumanNature Pass, which entitles its workers to take one additional hour off each week—paid—provided they promise to spend it outside doing something active.

Speaking to Adweek, Canada Goose CMO Penny Brook said that even half a year into the pandemic, “We [still] face the real possibility of further lockdowns, and the return to the office full time is ambiguous. We designed the pass to make it easier for our employees to live and embrace our philosophy, while encouraging the wellbeing of mind and body. It has been scientifically proven that time outside can have powerful effects on our mental health, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress levels and improving our mood.”

While the Toronto-based brand obviously can’t do anything to affect the time off that Americans get, it does hope stateside companies will follow its lead. And, just to hammer the message home, it has also launched a related marketing effort called Live in the Open, a series of films (and a double entendre) spotlighting three people who’ve overcome adversity in their personal and professional lives and, not incidentally, like to spend time outdoors wearing Canada Goose gear.

Among the individuals to be featured in the unfolding series is Shawn Dou, a Chinese-Canadian actor who earned a degree from the Beijing Film Academy, landed the lead in director Zhang Yimou’s Under the Hawthorn Tree and then scaled Mount Kilimanjaro. For Canada Goose’s short, Dou seems quite content to get out of his drab apartment and take a walk in the woods wearing his Lodge Hoody Black Label jacket.

The first installment of the series, which features adventurer Aldo Kane, can be seen on the films section of the brand’s website.

While it’s unlikely that American employers will rush to give their legions of work-from-home employees an extra hour off for a weekly hike, there’s a growing body of evidence suggesting that long days stuck at home in front of a computer has pushed people outdoors anyway.

As early as two months into the pandemic, a survey by CGPR found that home confinement had prompted “an entirely new consumer group [to] discover outdoor experiences for the first time.” And in a survey commissioned by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, 57% of respondents said that entire days spent indoors had taken a toll on their mental health, but 66% said it prompted them to get outside and be more active close to home.

Which is the point of the passes that Canada Goose is giving out. “Whether it be a walk in the park, a bike ride or gardening in the backyard, we wanted to give our employees a way to reconnect with that fundamental part of themselves,” Brook said.

@UpperEastRob Robert Klara is a senior editor, brands at Adweek, where he specializes in covering the evolution and impact of brands.