The trend of going completely off seems to have captured the imagination of startups, of late, and many companies are encouraging staff to go completely off the grid. Joining the bandwagon is Swedish audio streaming platform, Spotify, which has announced 'Wellness Week' for its employees in early November. During this time, Spotify offices will remain closed everywhere. Spotify in March 2022 had celebrated its third birthday in India.

"Next week all Spotify offices will be closed so that all of our employees everywhere will be able to recharge, focus on themselves and do something that brings them joy," said Katarina Berg, Spotify's chief HR officer in a blog post.

She said with this extra week of paid time off, the company hopes that its employees around the world could take the time they need for themselves, and return to work "revitalised, refreshed and energised".

Berg said not every business in the world can shut down their offices for an entire week, but every organisation and HR team should be doing what they can to focus on the health, safety and well-being of their workforce. "As the world of work has shifted dramatically and the spotlight has fallen on HR, we all have the chance to act responsibly for our workforce and to find new initiatives and ways to support employees," she said.

The initiative of Wellness Week was first launched in 2021 by Spotify, which was a resounding success. Considering this, Spotify, considered one of the best workplaces to work, has decided to bring it back this year as well. "In November last year, after a traumatic 18 (plus) months, we closed our offices for a week so that each and every one of our employees had the opportunity to put some extra focus on their own wellness. We called it Wellness Week…and it’s back," said Berg.

Many companies are now prioritising employee well-being to provide the best working environment, and thus attract top talent. 

Global office space provider WeWork, earlier this month, had announced a 10-day extended Diwali break for its employees in India. WeWork also offers 10 days of workation where the employees can travel anywhere across the country and work from there.

A similar initiative was taken by e-commerce startup Meesho in September when it announced an 11-day companywide break to allow employees to completely unplug from work and prioritise mental well-being after the busy festive sale period. 

In the wake of the third wave of the Covid pandemic, health and safety have become a priority for many startups as hybrid models of work continue to witness increased adoption. The initiatives by startups come at a time when burnout and anxiety have emerged as key concerns for today’s workforce. 

In August 2022, a Deloitte survey said 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. 

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