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SCRATCHING OUR OWN ITCH
Building Pause for Obvious, then the world
From the desks of Sindhu Shivaprasad and Kanika Tibrewala

What's one of the best ways to build a powerful product? Solve a problem that you know intimately. Over the last year, we scratched our own itch, as it were, and built the organisation's first-ever homegrown product: Pause. It's a time-off management tool shaped by our desire to walk the talk, stretch our knowledge beyond product building, and check off yet another dimension of being truly entrepreneurial. More practically, it solves some problems we were desperate to get off our backs.

Being avid software users while running a mature consultancy often means ploughing through a list of tools to make ourselves more efficient, more productive, more motivated... you get the drill. But when it came to leave management tools, we noticed cracks that went beyond the typical cold and predatory approaches of HR software:

  • Typical HR tools put numbers before team happiness
  • Clunky processes were neither easy nor quick to use
  • Information gaps led to shoddy team capacity planning
  • Feature bloat led to poorly thought-out processes and unaffordable pricing
  • Systems-first approaches left us to figure out processes for ourselves
  • Unclear leave policies led to longer stretches between breaks and intense burnout

Talks with other SMEs showed us these problems were far too common. Our systems-first world didn't offer up a solution that was empathetic or fun to use — so we built it.
To become the go-to slice-of-work-life tool, Pause was designed to be:

Team-first

Any high-autonomy team needs the support of systems that work even when teammates are OOO. Pause shifts the pressure of planning from on-vacation individuals and left-behind teams onto strong time-off management systems.
Transparent by default

The least powerful actor—the employee—is the most penalised by unclear and complicated systems. Pause is transparent by default, and prioritises 'informing' over 'tracking' to vest control in the employee's hands.
Anti-burnout

Typical workplace culture characterises breaks as "lazy" and burnout as "a rite of passage". But we know too well that burnout can destroy teams. So, Pause prioritises better planning over no breaks and uses empathetic features to encourage wellbeing.
As simple as possible 

It's easier to create many mediocre features than to build a handful of seamless ones. Pause was designed to solve the most basic problems that trip even the biggest companies up. By syncing with tools that teams already use, it expands their scope.

"We’ve always been very careful to create a strong work-life balance here at Obvious. And being able to literally translate our policies into code has been great. But how do you enshrine intention into policy? It's no longer just the people who have been here a while who understand expectations around time off. Now, from day one, Pause clearly communicates our belief that happy, rested people do their best work." 
Rahul Gonsalves, Co-founder and CEO, Obvious
In times like these, when we tend to overwork and under-recover, a positive approach to time off and encouraging features that empower teams to pause is the need of the hour. For more inside scoops on remote work, team collaboration and healthy work culture, sign up to our newsletter, Pause for Thought
PICK OUR AUTHORS' BRAINS

Chat with Sindhu Shivaprasad about healthy workplace culture, or Kanika Tibrewala for product-specific knowledge.
 
 Chat with Sindhu 
 
 Chat with Kanika 
OBVIOUS CURATES
More perspectives from around us
We’re here, we care: tips to dial-up compassion during the second wave
Pause
In a workplace, the impact of every teammate's productivity and happiness is exponential. Here are our best tips to help you and your your colleagues take a break, maximise motivation and minimise damage.
READ IT HERE →



How millennials became the burnout generation
Vox 
The world we’ve inherited set us up for burnout, and its the undercurrent affecting a vast majority of millennials. How scary is it that we can't imagine a different way of working anymore?
READ IT HERE →



Design’s North Star: Towards an inspiring future
Medium
A design “North Star” is a high-level visual narrative of how ideas and concepts will improve people's lives. By placing the narrative further out in time, you free yourself of existing constraints so that the results can be bolder, more imaginative, and more impactful.
READ IT HERE →



To rewrite the HR industry, we took unorthodox product decisions
Bootcamp
We make hundreds of product decisions every day to upend the status quo of how burnout, breaks, and team planning is perceived in our systems-first world. Most of these decisions are controversial. But don’t most world-changing ideas start off by ruffling a few feathers?
READ IT HERE →

IN OTHER NEWS
Updates from us 


Experience with Flutter as an Android developer 

Our journey of choosing to build a mobile app for Pause with Flutter, and understanding and adapting to differences between building native Android apps and Flutter. 

CHECK IT OUT HERE →

WE'RE HIRING
Join the team

OBVIOUS
Android Engineer

Leverage Android application development experience, own features, and work with existing systems to build empathetic digital products.

VIEW JOB POST→

OBVIOUS X
Backend Engineer

Own complete features, participate in peer reviewed code, write testable code and coordinate with the team to build and maintain production services. 

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