Late last week, SaaS (Software as a Service) firm Freshworks’ employees were treated to a bit of unexpected news as a company mailer said that Friday, July 24, 2020, would be an off day for everyone. The reason: “We had just finished a good quarter, our teams had worked hard and we were seeing that working from home meant that our employees were working longer hours than we anticipated,” the company’s chief human resources officer Suman Gopalan told CNBC-TV18.com.
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“Given that we talk so much about work-life balance, we thought we should get everyone to take a day off and have the entire company shut down,” she added.
What this meant was that all teams at Freshworks would not only get a long weekend, but also get a breather on a date that reads 24/7 (July 24), which ended up being a nod to the inadvertent 24x7 working that WFH has brought with it. But the decision to shut on 24/7 was purely coincidental.
“Friday seemed like a good day to take a day off, and it was coincidental that it also fell on July 24,” said Suman, adding, “So we can’t claim there was too much thought put into it.”
However, what the move attempts to do is say 'thank you' to thousands of employees’ families. “We not only wanted to acknowledge the hard work people were putting in, but also acknowledge the adjustments families have had to make while employees worked from home,” said Suman. Interestingly, a Freshworks internal policy states that members of the family, including pets, are free to pop in on video calls, since employees are using personal space for work.
‘Can’t work all day just because we’re home all day’
“When we initially began Work from Home (WFH), everyone was at it with a lot of gusto,” Suman said. “We liked that we could do our calls in our pyjamas or that we got that extra hour of sleep, that we could wake up five minutes before a call and jump into it. What we didn’t anticipate was that we would be in this for the long run.”
The decision to shut for a day was also brought about as a conscious decision to be mindful of employee health. “It is obvious that we need a more deliberate way to organise our day,” said Suman. “We can’t be at work all day just because we’re home all day.”
First Published: IST