BENGALURU: Last week, employees of the DDB Mudra group were in for a pleasant surprise. Staffers across departments were informed of a new policy that would be rolled out from the week of May 10 onwards: A four-day work week. “The five agencies in different locations can decide which day they’d like to take as the day off. A lot of employees are suffering or know someone else in their circle who is. And right now, everyone could use some time to help others,” says Rita Verma, executive vice president and head of human resources at the company. For now, the policy is applicable for the month of May, and Verma says the company will take a call on extending it based on the situation.
With the current state of dystopia and the health crisis, other companies too are turning towards this utopian concept of fewer working hours in an effort to help their employees cope better. Earlier this month, Swiggy too informed its employees of the change. In an internal mail to employees dated May 1, Girish Menon, head of HR at Swiggy, wrote: “Please decide the four days that each of you would work and utilize the extra day to take rest, take care of yourself, take care of your family and friends.
As many of you are aware, we have put together a Covid task force and we can definitely do more with more hands on the deck. Hence, if any of you would like to volunteer and actively help on the break day, you’re welcome.” The food delivery company’s new policy will be operational until the end of the month. A Swiggy representative confirmed that the company is in the process of working out some policies for its delivery executives. Though temporary, such measures still come as a boon.
Just ask Ananya Choudhary, a visual designer at Chumbak. Since April her company has been working 4.5 days a week, with work ending at noon on Wednesdays. What’s more, this will be in place until December at least. “Staying away from home in these times isn’t easy, especially if you are on your own. Policies like these make me feel safe and at peace,” says Choudhary, who hails from Patna but now resides in Bengaluru.
Vivek Prabhakar, founder of Chumbak, clarifies that cutting down work on one day doesn’t mean more hours are added to the other days. “We aren’t looking at off-setting the work load in other ways. People need this time off as things are quite tough during this wave of the pandemic. We might even continue the policy for the longterm,” he says, adding that the company has also introduced other measures include reimbursing Rs 1,000 a month towards therapy and Rs 500 towards online courses.