Godrej Housing Finance (GHF) announced a day off on September 3, 2021, to give an extended weekend to all its employees, confirms Ruhie Pande, CHRO, Godrej Housing Finance, to HRKatha. The Company decided to give a day off to all its employees on Friday so that they can enjoy a longer weekend, to rest, recharge and rejuvenate and get back on Monday with a fresh mind, full of energy.
This is not the first time that the Company has announced a day off on a Friday. In the past, during the second wave of COVID – 19, the Company took similar initiatives when it sensed the increasing stress levels amongst its employees. This is the third time that Godrej Housing Finance has declared a Friday off to allow a prolonged weekend to its workforce.
The pandemic has created turmoil in the lives of people, with many suffering personal loss. Therefore, the Company, recognising the mental and physical toll that the pandemic took on people, decided to allow its employees to stay away from work for three days, to relax and recharge before returning to work with renewed energy on Monday.
The overall purpose of these ‘switch-off’ days is solely to give employees a much-needed break from work, to unwind, especially since the boundary between personal and professional life has been blurred for most of late.
The HRBP team at GHF has a finger on the pulse of its employees and is in regular touch with them to take feedback on their health. It keeps a close watch on the stress levels of the employees, and whenever the onset of burnout is sensed, the Company announces a ‘switch-off day’ to allow the employees to pause.
“At Godrej Housing Finance, we aim to create a culture where taking breaks is normal. Thus, we will continue to announce ‘switch-off’ days from time to time”
Ruhie Pande, CHRO, Godrej Housing Finance
The organisation encourages all employees to spend such extended weekends with their kids, partners and other family members and truly enjoy the day off, while following all COVID-19 protocols set by the state government. The idea is to allow employees the time to take care of their health, pursue their hobbies and spend quality time bonding with their family members.
During these breaks, GHF advises all employees not to engage in any work-related activities or schedule official calls or meetings. It asks them to refrain from responding to any official mails till Monday.
Pande shares that the Company has observed that after such extended breaks, employees return to work with a lot more energy, as they get adequate time to recharge and unwind. “Switch-off days, is a great way for employees to get a complete downtime from their professional responsibilities,” she points out. After all, these extended breaks help them reduce stress by unwinding and spending quality time with family and friends, or using the opportunity to pursue their passions. “With these periodic breaks, we have observed employees coming back to work relaxed, rejuvenated and recharged,” shares Pande. She feels such breaks have “become essential, especially during the pandemic, when work-from-home has become a normal culture and the boundaries between work and leisure have blurred.” Besides, with other forms of relaxation such as vacations and outings having become impossible, “this initiative has certainly had a positive impact across the organisation,” shares Pande with HRKatha.
“Such breaks help employees to be more motivated and productive at work,” points out Pande. She explains that “studies have shown that employees who take adequate breaks are better equipped to be innovative and engaged. And as the adage goes, an engaged employee is a productive one!”
The decision to declare Friday an off and allow an extended weekend to employees was a collective decision taken by the HR team at GHF.
Pande also assures that such day-offs and extended weekends will not remain a one-off activity, and that GHF will continue to announce such pauses periodically from time to time. “At Godrej Housing Finance, we aim to create a culture where taking breaks is normal. Thus, we will continue to announce ‘switch-off’ days from time to time,” reveals Pande.
The Company has also re-launched its Employee Assistance Programme or EAP, with some new offerings that cover the immediate dependents of employees as well. Additionally, GHF consistently encourages employees to make use of their privilege leaves.
As of now, GHF is working on a hybrid model with employees coming to the office on rotation and the field sales team working as per their regular routine.