EXCLUSIVE: OYO’s new employee initiatives — weekend curfew with no calls or Slack messages, a surprise holiday, and discounted Curefit membership

Ritesh Agarwal, CEO, OYO Hotels and Homes OYO
  • OYO’s latest initiatives include a strict 5-day work week policy, which means employees are not liable to answer calls or Slack messages during the weekend.
  • The startup has also partnered with Cure.fit to give its employees access to workout sessions and will bear 50% of the costs for one year.
  • The startup has also announced a surprise holiday on August 17 and is calling it an ‘OYOpendence’ holiday.
Indian hospitality unicorn OYO has announced several initiatives to help its employees deal with anxiety and stress while working from home.

With ‘work from home’ becoming the new normal, thousands of professionals across India have been subject to long working hours and meetings and tasks which spill over to the weekend as well. As companies are experimenting with permanent work from home options, ‘burn out’ has been the latest buzz word, and employees are wondering when this influx of work would stop. And now, employers are taking cognizance of the rising pressure on employees.

OYO’s latest initiatives include a strict 5-day work week policy, which means employees are not liable to answer calls or Slack messages during the weekend, ensuring that they can take some time off for themselves.

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“Responding to work emails or messages received over the weekend by the subsequent working day will be acceptable and leaders or business heads will not conduct review meetings on Monday so that the teams do not have to prepare for it over the weekend,” said the company.

The employees will also be allowed to block personal time (for meals, house chores, pursuing a hobby, etc), and silent time (to ensure productivity) on their calendars during weekdays. The startup has also announced a surprise holiday on August 17 for all employees and is calling it an ‘OYOpendence’ holiday.

The startup has also partnered with Cure.fit to give its employees access to workout sessions and will bear 50% of the costs for one year.

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“As OYO gears up for a much-awaited resurgence, our people continue to be at the front and centre of everything we do. We have therefore recently launched initiatives to foster growth, happiness, wellbeing, and holistic development of OYOprenuers. We have received a lot of positive feedback and appreciation from OYOpreneurs so far, and it just helps reinforce our commitment to them,” said Dinesh Ramamurthi, Chief Human Resources Officer, OYO.

OYO has been turning things around after it laid off several hundreds of its workforce in India and globally in January and then during the coronavirus pandemic when it had furloughed several others. OYO’s business has been hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the company is looking at a slow recovery after hotels reopened in June.

Recently, OYO had also said it was reversing the pay cuts in a phased manner. Currently, the hospitality unicorn has restored salaries for employees who earn up to ₹8 lakh per annum, which means salaries of over 60% of OYO employees across India and South Asia stand reversed.

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For the other employees, the startup said that 12.5% of the total 25% cut will be restored from October, while the remaining 12.5% pay cut will be restored effective December 2020.


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