The Indian tech company SoftGrid wants its workers to go home


The colorful warning that flashed across Tanvi Khandelwal's work computer's screen recently startled the 21-year-old.

"Your shift is now complete. In ten minutes, the office computer system will shut down. It read, "PLEASE LEAVE NOW!

Ms. Khandelwal, who had only recently joined the company's human resources department, soon discovered that the pop-up message had been put in place by her new employers to force her to log off on time.

She is one of 40 employees at SoftGrid Computers, an Indian tech start-up with headquarters in the city of Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh, who receive daily notifications to log off 10 minutes before their shift ends. Their computers turned off themselves at 7 o'clock.

According to Shweta Shukla, CEO and co-founder of SoftGrid, the company sent out the notification as part of its initiatives to support workers in striking a better work-life balance.

We all started putting in long hours of work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Making time for my child was difficult for me, she claims.

Her coworkers at the company were dealing with similar difficulties.

They consequently requested that a colleague develop software that would first flash a warning on screen before shutting down the computer ten minutes later.

About six months ago, the software was installed on all employee computers.

"In order to make it a surprise, we did it over the weekend. Many employees believed the pop-up to be a joke when it first appeared on their screens or that someone had broken into their computer, according to Ms. Shukla.

She claims that the pop-up method was her preference because it was more entertaining than a "boring memo or email".

According to the staff, the message serves as a helpful reminder to leave the office and go home.

According to Ms. Khandelwal, this is very dissimilar from her previous workplaces, where it was discouraged to leave early and employees were urged to put in extra time.

About a week ago, she made a post on LinkedIn about the pop-up initiative, saying that if one worked in a culture like that, they didn't need Monday Motivation or Fun Friday to make them feel better.

With over 400,000 likes and 7,000 comments, the post quickly gained traction.

Although many users have praised the initiative, some have also questioned its usefulness.

One user stated, "This will put pressure on us to meet deadlines early.". The "inflexible working ethos," according to one commenter, may force people to work on the weekends. Others questioned what would occur if there was unfinished work and an employee was unable to simply log off.

Ms. Shukla explains, "They only need to restart the system and log in.".

The message, according to her, is merely intended to remind her teammates that the workday is over and that they are free to go, and it isn't legally binding.

Although some of our clients are unhappy about this, she continues, "We're standing by it."

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