A very merry Christmas for the techies

Deepa Kurup

Almost all companies play secret Santa

Christmas is a tad merrier at BPO companies

BANGALORE: Remember all that elaborate planning and the last-minute procrastination in front of the mirror to brace yourself for that Christmas party at the office? Now replace that with a keyboard touch up and a connectivity check, as you get ready to paint the virtual town red at that virtual office party.

IBM, in a bid to orient its newcomers to Second Life — a concept where every user is an avatar of himself/ herself logs on to the 3D intranet and helps themselves to surprise gifts and virtual cake — will host an online Christmas party where employees from all over India will log onto their internal servers and have the wildest time ever.

“We believe that Second Life is a thing of the future and are taking this as an opportunity to familiarise our employees with this mode of communication,” says Sunethra Banerjee, head of Corporate Communications. So you don’t need to be rotund to be Santa Claus or melodious to sing a carol… it is a merry virtual Christmas after all!

“Besides all this, we have bay decorations and Christmas cakes and internal competitions anyway,” says Prakash P., an employee.

More and merrier

Just like all other festivals, Christmas is a tad merrier at BPOs when compared with the festivities at their more serious software counterparts. Though most companies cautiously maintain that they are secular and do not believe in religious festivals, almost all of them have decorations and play secret Santa. “It is a lot of fun to find out who your secret Santa is. We buy our own cakes, and stop counting calories for a couple of days,” says Savitha S. of TCS.

Software giant, Yahoo! India, went out of their way to make their employees go “Yahoo!” The Yahoo! year-end party for employees and their families involved everything from a live band to adventure sports. From bungee jumping to parasailing, the employees had a weekend treat of sorts.

While most companies are making sure that their employees have a darn good time during the holiday season, others like Hewlett Packard (HP) are letting them free for a holiday. “We close down internationally from December 24 to January 2 so that our employees can actually spend time with their family,” says Bina, Corporate Communications, HP. Though employees from other companies say they enjoy the programmes held, they accept that they would rather go the HP way, and get a long holiday instead.

The C word

Speaking about Christmas and the holiday season, one wonders whether the whole spirit of Christmas is not lost amid all the celebration and squabbles for leave and incentives. Texas Instruments, among others, tries to revert to the true spirit of Christmas — charity. “We took our employees to an old-age home where they had a Christmas party and spent a whole day with them,” says Sylvia Subbaiah of TI. Employees were also taken to Apsara foundation, the CSR initiative of TI, which has adopted six schools in the city. “We believe that engaging with those less fortunate is a much better way to celebrate, both for them and our employees,” she adds.

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