How an NVIDIA Engineer Unplugs to Recharge During Free Days

On a weekday afternoon, Ashwini Ashtankar sat on the bank of the Doodhpathri River, in a valley nestled in the Himalayas. Taking a deep breath, she noticed that there was no city noise, no pollution — and no work emails.

Ashtankar, a senior tools development engineer in NVIDIA’s Pune, India, office, took advantage of the company’s free days — two extra days off per quarter when the whole company disconnects from work — to recharge. Free days are fully paid by NVIDIA, not counted as vacation or as personal time off, and are in addition to country-specific holidays and time-away programs.

Free days give employees time to take an adventure, a breather — or both. Ashtankar and her husband, Dipen Sisodia — also an NVIDIAN — spent it outdoors, hiking up a mountain, playing in snow and exploring forests and lush green meadows.

“My free days give me time to focus on myself and recharge,” said Ashtankar. “We didn’t take our laptops. We were able to completely disconnect, like all NVIDIANs were doing at the same time.”

Ashtankar returned to work feeling refreshed and recharged, she said. Her team tests software features of NVIDIA products, focusing on GPU display drivers and the GeForce NOW game-streaming service, to make sure bugs are found and addressed before a product reaches customers.

“I take pride in tackling challenges with the highest level of quality and creativity, all in support of delivering the best products to our customers,” she said. “To do that, sometimes the most productive thing we can do is rest and let the soul catch up with the body.”

Ashtankar plans to build her career at NVIDIA for many years to come.

“I’ve never heard of another company that truly cares this much about its employees,” she said.

Learn more about NVIDIA life, culture and careers.

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