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Explained: Why companies are giving employees well-being leave

Employee burnout is very real, with long hours of working from home taking a toll on many. A few companies are now trying to do something to alleviate the stress.

September 08, 2020 / 09:09 PM IST

A slew of firms, including Google, OYO, PhonePe and Cisco, have taken steps to ensure employees are not glued to their laptops all day and facing a burnout.

Employees at these companies are being granted special, ‘well-being’ leave on weekdays to cut off from work and rejuvenate.

Take Google, for instance. The technology giant has announced a three-day weekend to ensure employee well-being during the Coronavirus pandemic. Employees will be able to take Friday off and in case there is an important engagement on that day, the third weekly off can be swapped with another day.

But how will this work across companies and is there is a chance of misuse? Moneycontrol attempts to break it down: 

What is well-being leave?

Well-being leave is a special leave designed to ensure that employees working from home do not face a burnout from working continuously.

So, these leaves are either designed to be clubbed with a public holiday or as a regular feature. OYO, for example, has announced that all its employees across teams will have a 5-day work week starting August 2020. It also has a ‘weekend curfew’, under which employees will be encouraged to avoid calls, meetings and messages on weekends and holidays.

OYO also announced a surprise holiday on August 17 out of gratitude to employees so that they could have a long weekend.

Google’s policy is to ensure that work does not take a toll on employee minds. The idea is to ensure work-life balance for employees.

PhonePe introduced a ‘do not work from home’ policy that meant employees could get three-day weekends. Employees were told to keep their laptops off during holidays.

Why is this needed?

Remote working has become the new normal across companies and employees have been found experiencing anxiety issues since there is no personal time.

The idea of wellbeing leave is to ensure that employees have more ‘me-time’ for their personal activities, be it to spend time with family or to run errands.

Work-from-home also means that there is no fixed start and end time to a work day. No overtime benefits are being paid during the pandemic. A day off would also mean that the employer is compensating for the additional hours clocked in.

What if there is urgent work?

Companies have a set schedule so that employees know their weekly responsibilities and productivity needs. If there is a sudden meeting or any urgent work that comes up on a holiday, the employee will be allowed to swap this leave with some other day. Team managers work with employees to look into such special situations.

Will the facility be misused?

Wellbeing leave is unlikely to be misused since employees will be required to work on such special holidays if there is an emergency. So, if there a client meeting scheduled for that day, an employee will have to be present. But s/he will get another day off in its stead.

Further, employees who are required to be part of workplaces on all working days, especially technical/IT/investment team staff, may not get these leaves.

M Saraswathy
M Saraswathy
first published: Sep 8, 2020 04:04 pm