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Companies get innovative with year-ender plans for their employees

From mandatory long leaves to hiking, and team lunches, companies are looking at ways to make the holiday season special for its staff

Many organisations are doing special team engagement activities to mark the end of 2020. Photo: iSTOCKPHOTO
Many organisations are doing special team engagement activities to mark the end of 2020. Photo: iSTOCKPHOTO (iStock)

Unlike previous years, for most people the year-ender is going to be a quiet affair. December used to be marked by team lunches and celebrations in offices. According to professional networking platform LinkedIn’s recent survey revealed that 61% of Indian professionals are planning to not avail year-ender leaves. Nearly 87 % will either continue putting in the same hours or more at work. Some companies are, however, going an extra mile to mark the end of 2020 special.

Since people couldn’t take as many leaves this year, Mumbai-based fin-tech company Market Pulse has decided to give its employees a mandatory 10 day “reboot” leave. The 35 employees will go on leave from Dec 26 to Jan 3. Apart from the forced holidays, all the employees will get 10,000 allowance to buy anything that will help them rejuvenate, relax or get inspired. “The only thing we expect in return is that you come back with stories of how you utilised the break and the allowance, and how it helped you,” said co founder Amit Dhakad. He added that since the market is slow and the US market will be closed during the holiday, they thought of taking the opportunity take time off. While many are looking at travelling, Dhakad said one colleague wanted to binge watch OTT series and movies, while another wanted to utilize the time catching on sleep. “I am looking forward to spending time with my eight-month-old daughter,” Dhakad revealed.

Similarly, Grant Thornton Bharat is adding 3 days extra to its annual week-long break for its 4000 employees “for the extra effort that was put in this special year,” stated Vishesh Chandiok, CEO of Grant Thornton Bharat. It has also send across Bluetooth JBL headset to all the staff.

Then there are companies who tried to maintain continuity with some physical get togethers. Like most organizations, Steelcase India too had been operating remotely since March. But Steelcase India MD Praveen Rawal ensured its annual leadership meet, held in December, didn’t get disrupted. The 14 members, who came from six different cities, met offline at their usual offsite location Samode, near Jaipur. “This place has been a lucky charm for us. We have been coming here for the last seven years. It has an invigorating environment, and is very quiet. And on the dates we had booked, thankfully there were no weddings, or other guests,” Rawal said.

Besides strategising for the next year, the team caught up with each other, went hiking and flew down a consultant, who did resilience-building workshops. To ensure safety, nine people quarantined themselves at a hotel in Gurugram three days before joining the rest of the team, and everyone got a covid-19 test done. “We took all the precautions but I felt the team was more innovative than they had been in the last nine months virtually,” he said.

In addition to the usual virtual events like talent show and guessing games that fin-tech company Zaggle has planned for its 150 employees, it’s organising a Christmas-themed lunch and cake for about 50 employees, who are coming to its offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

While offline employee strength may not come to pre-covid19 levels any time soon, having unusual engagement activities certainly provide relief and comfort to the remotely working employees this holiday season.

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