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Business News/ Companies / News/  3-day work week: Bengaluru-based startup's offer to attract employees

3-day work week: Bengaluru-based startup's offer to attract employees

Bengaluru-based fintech startup is offering new hires a three-day week with salary at 80% of the going market rate

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(representational image) 

A Bengaluru-based fintech startup has come up with a dramatic option to increase their talent pool: a three-day work week. The proposal is an attempt to garner more technology talent amid a shortage in Indian companies. 

Fintech company Slice is offering new hires a three-day week with salary at 80% of the going market rate, Bloomberg reported. “This is a win-win approach that frees the workers to pursue other passions or interests -- or other gigs -- while still locking in a steady pay and benerefits from Slice," said Rajan Bajaj, the company’s founder, according to the report. 

“This is the future of work," Bajaj, 28, said in a phone interview to Bloomberg. “People don’t want to be tied down to a job." 

Global investors are pouring billions of dollars into India’s tech startups, putting entrepreneurs under pressure to ramp up teams. A massive talent crunch has ensued as IT outsourcers, Silicon Valley giants, global retailers and Wall Street banks’ technology centers vie for engineering and product talent alongside hundreds of fast-growing startups.

Slice is betting that its approach will make it stand apart from the competition. The company has 450 employees and wants to recruit 1,000 engineers and product managers in the next three years.

“It’s the best of both worlds," Bajaj said. “Workers can get salary and full benefits working a three-day week, and spend the rest of their time chasing a startup dream, looking for a co-founder or pursuing a non-work passion."

The move comes amid many companies, startups and IT, are moving to fewer working days per week to enhance the productivity of employees, among various incentives.  

Recently, cybersecurity company TAC Security has shifted to a 4-day work week, closing on Fridays for the last 7 months for better productivity. If it makes workers more productive and happier, it will make the policy permanent in Mumbai office, the company said on Monday.

Terming it a step to adapt to the “Future of Work," the company, which has around 200 employees, decided to focus on empowering employees to have a healthy work-life balance and a happier workforce in return.

The move toward shorter weeks has been underway for at least a century. However, given the global pandemic, the work culture took a dramatic change and several companies are now slowly adapting to a more hybrid office culture where employees are asked to work from office alternatively, apart from few days of work.  

In 1926, Henry Ford adopted a five-day work week in place of the typical six days, after experiments showed productivity wouldn’t suffer as a result. Companies and countries have experimented with four-day weeks for years without widespread adoption.

Proponents of shorter weeks now point to studies showing a boost in employee productivity and well-being, prompting countries such as Ireland and Iceland to try them out. Technology behemoth Amazon.com Inc. piloted a four-day week for select employees in 2018, and even China is trying to rein in its excessive working hours. Just as in Silicon Valley, the Indian startup industry’s work-centered culture is leaving some engineers disenchanted while some are milking the opportunity for all its worth. 

Even Bhavish Aggarwal, founder of ride-hailing startup Ola and electric-car startup Ola Electric Mobility Pvt., tweeted recently in half jest that he was thinking of outsourcing work to a cheaper destination -- the San Francisco Bay Area.

Flush with capital, startups are also spending on other initiatives to attract engineers and designers. Social commerce platform Meesho announced a companywide 10-day break in November so workers can unplug and rejuvenate. Fintech startup BharatPe has proffered referral goodies like BMW bikes, gadgets and cricket holidays in Dubai.

Slice began offering its three-day option on Monday, and it is betting its timing is opportune: millions of engineers are preparing to return to in-person work, after nearly two years of being confined to working from home.

The startup, founded in 2016, specializes in offering credit cards to India’s young. Its physical card launched in 2019 with the company touting sign-ups of less than a minute, cashbacks and multiple payment options. Slice issued 110,000 cards last month, making it among the country’s top providers. Its backers include Japan’s Gunosy Capital and India’s Blume Ventures.

The new hires will form small teams and work on newer cryptocurrency or “buy now pay later" products. Existing employees are eligible for the program “provided they are a fit," Bajaj said. “A three-day work week allows us to recruit a certain caliber of talent because it’s a perk big tech companies like Google and Amazon don’t offer," he said, reported Bloomberg. 

With inputs from Bloomberg

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Published: 04 Oct 2021, 05:09 PM IST
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