The message comes up on employees’ computers shortly before the ends of their shifts, starting with a bright red “Warning!!!”
“Your shift time is over,” it reads. “The office system will shut down in 10 mins. PLEASE GO HOME!”
A LinkedIn post about the measure, which is intended to ensure that employees don’t overwork themselves, went viral this month after it was shared by Tanvi Khandelwal, a human resources specialist who recently joined SoftGrid Computers in Indore, India.
“While I was surprised to see such a message on my computer system, I believe that a healthy work-life balance is very important,” said Khandelwal, 21. “I am a social worker, as well, and such work culture allows me to engage in those activities after my office hours.”
Shweta Shukla, a co-founder and the CEO of SoftGrid, said she and her partners saw the initiative as a way to prioritize necessary breaks and maintain an overall work-life balance among their 40 employees, who would often stay late to meet client and office demands.
“Coming up with this solution was a shared thought process amongst all the partners,” she said. “Since the pandemic, we have all been facing issues with working overtime and missing out on the social parts of our daily lives, like quality time with our families and loved ones.”
Shukla said she and her partners reveal the notification in a pop-up because it was “more fun and engaging than an email or memo.”
Khandelwal said employees were baffled when the warning first flashed across their screens, with some thinking that it was a prank or that their computers had been hacked. But she said most employees appreciated that it encourages them to create time-related boundaries at work, which is not the usual culture at Indian tech companies.
However, the LinkedIn post was met with mixed reactions from other tech employees. While many praised the initiative, some users raised concerns about the varying work hours of different employees and said an “inflexible work ethos” could create pressure to meet deadlines or work on weekends.
“This pop-up message is not an ultimatum,” Shukla responded. “It serves as a reminder for our teammates, and with a simple restart, they can get back to work if required.”
Khandelwal said that despite the negative comments she had received on her shared post, many other human resources employees had reached out to her on social media to ask about doing something similar at their companies.