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Tech firm employees told they would be fined nearly $1,200 if they contact colleagues on days off

Tech firm employees told they would be fined nearly $1,200 if they contact colleagues on days off

Mumbai-based firm Dream11 are ensuring that employees have the right to switch-off.

With all the benefits of modern technology there are some downfalls, including colleagues being able to contact you out of hours.

Whether you work from home, in an office or elsewhere, getting urgent work emails, calls and WhatsApp messages during your well deserved time off can be simply infuriating.

This, unfortunately, is common for workers even during their annual leave and holidays. But in some countries, such as India, workers feel so overwhelmed by the pressure of work, steps have been made to ensure this digital annoyance carries a hefty fine.

A firm based in Mumbai has now created an incredible solution to fix this problem, by charging employees a large fine for bothering others with ‘work-related calls or messages’ out of hours.

Employees will be fined for sending messages out of hours.
Maciej Krynica / Alamy Stock Photo

Fantasy gaming platform Dream11 will fine its employees 100,00 rupees (£1,009.12GBP or $1,200USD) if they reach out during their colleagues’ time off.

The company wants to ensure its employees get to ‘switch off and enjoy a healthy work-life balance,’ according to a statement it shared with CNN.

The policy is aptly named ‘Unplug’ and it ensures employees aren’t pestered by emails, WhatsApp messages or notifications from Slack.

Employees are encouraged to take part in ‘Unplug’ for seven days in a year.

It is unclear when the policy was introduced but the company’s co-founders - Harsh Jain and Bhavit Sheth - have said that it has been effective so far.

“Once a year, for one week, you’re kicked out of the [company] system … you don’t have Slack, emails and calls,” Jain told CNBC.

Emails outside of working hours are forbidden.
Antonio Guillem / Alamy Stock Photo

“Because it helps you greatly to have that one week of uninterrupted time and it helps the business to know whether we’re dependent on anyone.”

Sheth added: “No one wants to be that jerk who called someone who was on unplug.”

The duo founded their company in 2008 and it now has over 1,000 employees. It is valued at $8 billion, according to data platform Tracxn.

Working long hours is killing hundreds and thousands of people each year through stoke and heart disease, according to the World Health Oranization (WHO).

In a study published in 2021 in the journal Environment International, deaths from heart diseases linked with working long hours increased by 42 percent between 2000 and 2016 and stoke by 19 percent.

Employees have reported being contacted during their days off.
Antonio Guillem / Alamy Stock Photo

It found that people who worked 55 or more hours each week and an estimated 35 percent higher risk of a stroke and a 17 percent greater risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, which is caused by the narrowing of the arteries.

Dream11 aren’t the only business to encourage its employees to switch-off. Last year it was announced that government workers in Belgium will be entitled to ignore their bosses if they’re contacted outside of their working hours.

The movement is being called the 'Right to Disconnect' and will be introduced for civil workers from February 1 by the Minister of Civil Service Petra De Sutter.

A memo seen by Belgian newspaper De Morgen, states workers can only be 'contacted outside normal working hours in exception and unforeseen circumstances and where action is required that cannot wait until the next working period'.

There are no clear penalties if the regulations are broken.

Featured Image Credit: Matej Kastelic / Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: World News, Mental Health