'Recession has made us think innovatively'

Published: 20 May, 2009 09:09 IST | Lavanya Srinivasan |

Three Infoscions who have taken up the offer of a sabbatical share their out-of-office experiences

Three Infoscions who have taken up the offer of a sabbatical share their out-of-office experiences

Only five employees have taken up Infosys' offer to go on a sabbatical and do social work on a truncated pay cheque.

Special SERVICE: Sriram Vepuri working with an animal welfare centre in Hyderabad. He has taken a 50 per cent pay cut from Infosys

When the IT major made the announcement last November, it said it would allow 50 employees to take up a sabbatical and pay them 50 per cent of their salary during the period.

MiD DAY caught up with three of the volunteers to find out how they are spending their sabbatical and what they've learnt so far.

Pleased with policy

Sriram Vepuri, who's now working  with Blue Cross of India (animal welfare organisation), says he's pleased with the policy since he's been wanting to do just this for the last two years.

"Working at the grass roots has brought about a drastic change in my attitude. A big hurdle which most NGOs face today is recession. Every decision is, in some way or another, related to this. Recession has made us think innovatively."

Great learning

Viswanath Sridharan, who's working with The Institute of Leadership and Institutional Development, says he's learnt persistence and optimism from his new experience.

"I have always believed that Infosys is more than just a profit-making organisation. I was thrilled when I heard about the policy," says the software professional.

"To share what I have learnt in the last eight years with other organisations and making them work effectively, has been invigorating. You just can't beat the feeling evoked by a student coming up and giving a speech in flawless English," he adds.

Good change

For Nidhi Malhotra, working with The Banyan, a remand home for mentally ill, homeless women has been life-changing.

"I've never worked with any NGO before and after this, I feel I'm a better person," says Nidhi, a senior project manager.

Corporate social responsibility
Infosys insists that the sabbatical option had nothing to do with the recession. "It has been N Narayan Murthy's dream to give employees the chance to take time out for social service. Though this has coincided with the economic downturn, this is purely related to corporate social responsibility," said Mohandas Pai, director (human resources), Infosys.

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