E-commerce startup Meesho has announced an 11-day companywide break to allow employees to completely unplug from work and prioritise their mental well-being after the busy festive sale period.

Called Reset and Recharge, the 11-day companywide break starts from October 22, 2022 and ends on November 1, 2022. The startup had announced a similar break last year.

This comes at a time when burnout and anxiety have emerged as key concerns for today's workforce. Earlier this month, a Deloitte survey said that poor mental health among employees costs Indian employers around $14 billion per year due to absenteeism, attrition and presenteeism – the phenomenon of attending to work while under mental stress and hence, performing at low productivity. These costs build up over time and are incurred when poor mental health impacts how individuals deal with day-to-day stressors and are unable to thrive in their work environment.

Reset and Recharge will show the way for other companies to adopt similar employee-first practices, Meesho says, adding that the move is a reflection of the startup's continued commitment towards building a people-centric workplace, one that truly looks after its employees.

80% of the Indian workforce has reported mental health issues during the past one year, Deloitte said. Despite these alarming numbers, societal stigma prevents around 39% of the affected respondents from taking steps to manage their symptoms.

The survey found that 33% of all respondents continued to work, despite poor mental health, while 29% took time off and 20% resigned to better manage their mental health.

Mental health issues have seen a steady rise globally, accentuated further by the onset of Covid-19. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India accounts for nearly 15% of the global mental health burden.

"Building a great company culture requires one to acknowledge that work-life balance, rest and rejuvenation are key to employee well-being. With Reset and Recharge, we continue to push the envelope and redefine conventional workplace norms. Employees can choose to decompress however they want – whether it's spending time with near and dear ones, traveling or picking up a new hobby," says Ashish Kumar Singh, chief human resources officer, Meesho.

"Such progressive policies have helped augment our employee centricity and industry-leading retention rates," he adds.

Meesho claims it offers a boundary-less workplace model, infinite wellness leave, 30-week gender-neutral parental leave and 30-day gender reassignment leave.

The Reset and Recharge policy amplifies the company's concerted efforts towards creating a dynamic workplace built on the pillars of employee flexibility and empowerment, it says in a statement.

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