It was the pandemic, and I was working as a freelance writer. You would find me in my room, in the weirdest nooks and crannies of my home, in the comfiest clothes known to mankind, thinking, writing, reading, and giggling whenever a punchy line passed through my head. To an outsider, I would come across as a total lunatic.
This is not just my reality but that of many others who held down the traditional 9 to 5 jobs and finally got to spend time with their families while working. They no longer had to choose between the two and could be there for their families and work commitments. They could work at odd hours of the day, whenever inspiration strikes, whenever they find peace, and what does one need other than this?
This flexibility allows you to squeeze in time for your hobbies, family, and friends. This is what appeals to the masses. The freedom we tasted during the pandemic, working on our terms, made it difficult to adjust when the clock turned to work from the office. Working from the office for the majority of us meant that we had to escape the comfort of our own homes and suddenly the control over our day was lost, because working at the office meant you would have to apply for a leave of absence if any emergency occurred, you could no longer postpone your work. This also led to many people saying, “I quit” and led to the emergence of ‘The Great Resignation.’
GenZ and Millennials make up the majority of the workforce in today’s time. These generations and the upcoming generation of GenAlpha are outspoken about the mental health challenges and what they need from their management. So, the outdated leave policies and treating the employees like slaves wouldn’t work because this generation of employees are advocates of healthy work-life balance and wouldn’t shy away from quitting and saying it as it is to the management. If any organization could not catch up on this, it would have to face the highest employee turnover.
One of the strongest demonstrators of a company’s work culture is not Fun Fridays or employee birthday celebrations but is the leave policy. Leave policies demonstrate the work culture and how a company treats its employees.
Companies often look out for different strategies to increase employee engagement, accountability, and responsibility among their workforce. In all of this, they might be overlooking one major factor- leave policy. Here is a list of some new-age companies employing new-age leave policies, which are employee-centric, and the impact it had on the overall work culture.
Companies like HSBC internationally give two weeks of leave at a stretch to all its employees. Working hard and partying harder is strong with this company. The employees are asked to stay completely away from their work, which means not answering emails or work calls. This policy helps employees restore their productivity, rejuvenate, and return to their most productive selves, avoiding burnout.
‘No Questions Asked’ Policy
Noise, a lifestyle technology brand, came up with its no-questions-asked leave policy. The employees are allowed to take up to 4 weeks of leave in a year without giving any reason to the management. This was done to demonstrate the trust the company has in its employees and that they care about their wellbeing.
Aside from maternal and paternal leaves, companies like Deloitte are setting a new benchmark for employee-centric and empathetic companies that believe in investing in the personal lives of employees. The company offers a 16-week paid leave to not only new parents but also to employees who need to take care of an ailing family member.
Out of all the policies that might be listed here leave gifting is one of the most unique policies. This policy allows employees to give their share of leave to their colleagues or friends who might need it. There are times when your colleague finds themselves in a very critical situation when they have emptied their leave balance and might have to resort to pay cuts to avail extra leaves for whatever reason. So, to solve this issue, many companies have come up with a new solution where other colleagues and friends can gift their leaves to the ones in need. This creates a culture of camaraderie between employees and is a way of helping out people and giving them a hand in their emergencies.
The leave policy of a company says everything about the company’s culture and how the employees are treated. While looking for a new job, many candidates also review the leave policies of the organization they are applying for.
51% of workers surveyed by Foundit believe their work well-being is more important than a salary increase. So, it is time to revamp your leave policy and make way for better and more empathetic policies.
(Author: Karishma, offers youthful and refreshing views on whatever she writes about.)