Following up on the latest trend of companies prioritising mental health and well-being, global office space provider WeWork has announced a 10-day extended Diwali break for its employees in India. E-commerce startup Meesho has also announced similar break for its employees to destress and recharge after the hectic festive sales period this year.

The company says the “surprise holiday break” has been announced to help the employees celebrate the festival of lights with family and loved ones and enjoy "some much-needed downtime". WeWork already offers 10 days of workation where the employees can travel to any location across the country and work.

A similar initiative was taken by e-commerce startup Meesho last month 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. Called Reset and Recharge, the 11-day companywide break will start from October 22, 2022, to November 1, 2022. The startup announced a similar break last year too.

WeWork had launched such an inifirst in 2021 as part of its employee-first practices. “The 10-day break is a gesture of gratitude towards the entrepreneurial spirit of every WeWork employee. Allocating time to reset and re-energise oneselves is critical and hence we decided to make the 10 day Diwali vacation an annual ritual,” says Priti Shetty, chief people and culture officer, WeWork India.

The coworking space major WeWork India's revenue rose 33% to over Rs 800 crore in the 2021 calendar year. This year, the company aims to clock in higher revenue on the enhanced area expansion target. The latest data shows WeWork operates over 5 million square feet of area across 40 locations, including NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad, comprising over 68,000 seats.

In the wake of the third wave of the Covid pandemic, health and safety have been 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. 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.

WeWork is among the major global players when it comes to shared workspaces. According to a recent report by Colliers, the flexible workspace stock is expected to cross 60 million sq ft in tier 1 and tier 2 cities by 2023, as businesses prioritise growth through flexibility.

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