The first wave of the pandemic had forced many companies to temporarily shut down operations in India, so as to curb the spread of the virus. However, even as the second wave has returned to shake the country, many companies, and especially those delivering food and other essentials, are far from suspending trade. Instead, they seem to be coming up with innovative ways to keep their customers and staff safe. One of these includes food delivery platform Swiggy announcing on Monday that for the month of May, employees will work only four days a week, as COVID cases continue to rise in the country.

The company says that the decision has been undertaken for improvement of the physical and mental well-being of its employees. Moreover, it will also work to provide them some relief should they be tending to any relatives or friends that might be sick. Employees have been granted the flexibility of choosing the days on which they would like to work, based on their preference. 

HR Head at Swiggy, Girish Menon, has sent a mail to all its employees, asking them to pick the four days they would work per week. “As a mark of respect for the efforts and the month that May can be with Covid cases escalating, we want to offer a four-day work week to all of you,” the mail reads, “Please decide the four days that each of you would work and utilise the extra day to take rest, take care of yourself, take care of your family and friends.” 

Employees have also been informed about the emergency support team and the mechanism for pandemic support that has been set up to aid them during any crisis. A special app, aptly called the Shield App, has been designed for the task, along with a designated hotline number for employee support. The purpose is to provide information to the employees about beds in nearby hospitals, oxygen cylinders, plasma, ICU support, ambulances, etc., and to help them gain access to the same as well. It will be based on the company’s extensive database regarding its partners, healthcare providers, and volunteers. Employees under home quarantine will also be provided with medical support and online consultation with doctors.

 Another step keeping workforce welfare in mind is that all employees and their families who have come in contact with the COVID, will be entitled to reimbursements so as to cover the costs incurred during treatment and recovery, be it through hospitalization or home quarantine. Salary advances, loans on current times, and leave encashments have also been announced. The salary for the month of May will be sped up, and provided at an earlier date, for employees at grades 1 through 6, so as to provide them with financial relief. Should they or their family members test positive for the COVID, employees will be on the receiving end of a nutritional support cover as well.

The company had previously launched an initiative to get its employees along with their family members, as well around 2 lakh of its delivery partners, vaccinated, a move that is still under operation. 

It appears that the recent fundraiser that the company went through, successfully raising $800 million (through which it reached a valuation of $5 billion), has been instrumental in helping it organize programs to help keep its employees and delivery partners safe from the disease. With this move, Swiggy joins the hosts of tech start-ups in the country that have released a slew of services for their employees, including emergency and insurance help desks, in addition to reducing the work load.