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'Reset & Recharge' to 'pens down' days, India Inc is going out of its way to keep staff happy

Firms that put employee concern first tend to be more profitable


Social commerce unicorn Meesho, on Wednesday, announced an 11-day break for its staff, coinciding with this year’s Diwali festival period. 

While Meesho calls the company-wide holiday from October 22 to November 1 a ‘Reset & Recharge’ break, it is only the latest in various employee-focused measures being rolled out by companies across India in these unsure post-pandemic days of the ‘great resignation’ and ‘quiet quitting.’

“Building a great company requires one to acknowledge that work-life balance is key to employee well-being,” said Ashish Kumar Singh, chief human resources officer at Meesho. “Such progressive policies have helped augment our industry-leading retention rates.”

Meesho is only one among the many companies that have sprung out-of-the-box human resources practices to keep the employees invested. For instance, Microsoft India recently added mental health to its sick policy, besides introducing Covid-19 vaccine childcare support leave, with an additional 12 weeks of base pay continuity.

Measures that various companies have taken for employee welfare include flexible working hours as a de-facto standard practice for employees coming back to offices after long periods of work-from-home (WFH). Leaves are now theirs for the asking, as firms across the board realise that helping employees maintain work-life balance and a schedule of their choosing contributes to better productivity. 

In fact, an estimate by an IT giant says that organisations that put employee concern first tend to be as much as 25 per cent more profitable.

KPMG was reported to offer three-four days of ‘pens down breaks’ for employees to ‘recharge’, with such days usually clubbed to the weekend. A KPMG in India spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Meesho itself is trying out the ‘Reset & Recharge’ long break for the second year in a row, to help employees “completely unplug from work and prioritise their mental well-being after the busy festive sale period.” The billion-dollar company has also put in place several other innovations, including infinite wellness leave, one month of gender-neutral parental leave, and 30-day gender reassignment leave for LGBT employees. 

The next big HR innovation is likely to be the f-day working week, which is already under trial in the UK. Early reports indicate that a majority of the 70 or so companies trying it out for a few months have found that employee productivity was satisfactory under the new schedule.

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