With change the only constant, organisations need to keep evolving policies to fit the circumstances and transforming times.
‘Recharge Fridays’, 'Right to nap', ‘Infinite leave’, 'Gender reaffirmation leave’ … the list of new policies, benefits and perks related to the workplace and the wellness of employees in the post-pandemic world seems endless.
HR leaders say initiatives like these help employees recuperate and de-stress and in the long run, boost productivity, motivation, and engagement, besides boosting retention through the Great Resignation.
With an aim to give employees an opportunity to look after their well-being and encourage work-life harmony, global mass customisation company Cimpress’s last month introduced an initiative called "Recharge Fridays" which gives employees a half day off every Friday. Using this time, employees can spend their time doing whatever they want to recharge their batteries.
Ameya Sane, HR director at Cimpress India, believes that employees are more productive and engaged when they can devote time and attention to activities that bring them joy. “Giving an extra half day off will help our employees get some much-deserved recharge time to pursue what they love and grow,” he says.
Sane further adds that it is initiatives like these that have kept their attrition at less than half of the industry standard.
Bengaluru-based advanced battery technology startup Log9 Materials recently announced a first-of-its-kind ‘Infinite-Leave’ Policy (which they have proudly named Log9’s ‘Trust’ Policy) that enables its people to take as many leaves as they want, whenever and however they want, throughout the year.
The policy, which comes with zero terms and conditions, is applicable to each and every Log9er, including the organisation’s full-time interns, founders, top, and mid-level management.
“Our infinite leave policy provides Log9ers with the flexibility to take paid time off whenever they need to. Unlike our earlier leave policy, there is no hard limit on the number of days or hours that they can take off, as long as their work is completed,” says Raman S R, chief people officer, Log9 Materials.
“As people now have the freedom to take leave whenever they need/ want to, they can have a greater work-life integration. The unlimited leave policy will allow them to be more forthcoming about when they need to take time off to recuperate and de-stress. In the long run, we want to boost productivity, motivation, and engagement among our squads and tribes,” he adds.
Many other companies have adopted this policy globally and in India. However, Raman says that Log9 Materials is the first company to fundamentally shift the ownership of one’s well-being from a manager to the individual by removing all approvals required to take leave and calling it a ‘Trust’ policy.
Raman says this is a fundamental shift in empowering the individual. “We also hope to see our employees leverage the infinite leave policy to further charge their career through our recently launched ‘Career Charge Programme’ to help employees upskill, learn a new skill/ course related to their career aspirations.”
Social commerce startup Meesho has introduced employee friendly practices like the 30-week gender-neutral parental leave policy and gender reassignment leave.
Gender neutral parental leave applies equally to women, men, heterogenous or same-sex couples so they can stay present for their children and also does away with the differentiation between natural childbirth, adoption, and surrogacy. If the employee is a primary caregiver, they are eligible for 30 weeks fully paid leave.
On top of this, Meesho will provide a 25% salary payout for 3 months after 30 weeks. This is being done to ensure that an even bigger buffer is built-in and enable the newborn to receive the needed love, care, and attention. Secondary Caregivers are entitled to 30 calendar days of leave.
Under 'gender reaffirmation leave’ policy, employees looking to transition their gender can get up to one month of paid leave for gender reassignment surgery and other medical procedures. The surgery will also be covered by insurance.
The latest introduction of a first-of-its-kind ‘boundaryless workplace model’ furthers the company’s efforts to reimagine conventional workplace dynamics.
“We have been championing many industry-first initiatives that have redefined conventional workplace norms and these policies are significant steps in that direction. Our real talent pull is the kind of experiences, autonomy, and opportunities we provide to our employees and not just the salary. Our core belief is policies that are forward looking, inclusive, and industry leading will set the precedent. The job applications to Meesho have grown and increased by 250% with the introduction of ‘work from anywhere policy’ alone,” says Ashish Kumar Singh, CHRO, Meesho.
D2C home and sleep solutions company Wakefit in May introduced ‘Right to nap’ policy for its employees. The company announced 2:00-2:30 p.m. every day as their official nap time, thereby letting their employees take an afternoon nap and build greater sleep affinity.
“The workforce of today is driven to learn and seek opportunities that fulfill their pursuits of self-actualisation. Being cognisant of this, we have consistently attempted to devise policies that will marry the aspirations of the new generation with company prerogatives that emphasise their growth and prowess. The 'Right to Nap' policy that we recently announced for our employees was one such endeavour,” says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, director & co-founder, Wakefit.co.
He believes that organisations need to be understanding and accommodative of the ever-evolving workforce and their needs.
“It instills immense pride in me when I hear our employees speak about the organisation and how they are happy to work for a company that cares about them. Empowering our employees will result in the company’s growth. This is in our organisational fabric and we want to ensure that it continues leading the way for our forthcoming generations entering the workforce,” Ramalingegowda adds.
As a part of its enhanced benefits programme, India’s largest crypto investing firm CoinSwitch recently extended maternity and paternity leaves for employees. Employees can henceforth avail maternity leave for 34 weeks (8 months) and paternity leave for 4 weeks (1 month).
The 34-week maternity leave at CoinSwitch is more than the 26 weeks mandated by the Indian government, and the 4-week paternity leave is greater than the government-mandated 15 days.
Zeeshan Ramlan, director and head—HR, CoinSwitch says the enhanced parenthood benefits programme will enable their employees to relish the joys of life without having to trade off their career goals.
“Our diverse workforce is our strength, helping us build a wealth-tech destination for every Indian. A happy employee leads to a happy user,” he added.
CoinSwitch also recently introduced an industry-first pet care and adoption policy, in addition to other employee benefits programmes including paid leaves for charity work, a raise in bereavement leaves from five days to two weeks, mandatory recharge days, paid leave on work- and wedding anniversary, and reimbursement of tuition fee.