The message comes up on employees’ computers shortly before the end 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 the company 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,” Khandelwal, 21, told NBC News. “I am a social worker as well, and such work culture allows me to engage in those activities after my office hours.”
Shweta Shukla, SoftGrid’s co-founder and chief executive, 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 chose the pop-up method to reveal the notification to their employees since it was “more fun and engaging than an email or memo.”
Employees were baffled when the warning first flashed across their screens, Khandelwal said, with some thinking 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 across the platform. While many praised the initiative, some users raised concerns regarding 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 added 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 own companies.