Eighty hour week

Many Indians work 80-hours a week, the highest average worldwide. Worldwide this is now well known which is evident from the outsourcing work coming into India. This is because of unusually high commitment levels on the part of Indian professionals.

In fact, most Indians take pride and talk easily about this “sacrifice”, fondly believing it would help further their careers. Americans and Brits typically work 40-hour weeks. France has legislated a 35 hour week and Germany is working towards 36 hours.

Abroad, it is amazing to see people get up and leave office sharply at 5pm! It looks as of they are lazy or overstaffed or both. By the same logic people in the developing world, have to work more and this gives an impression that we are understaffed. A comparison of productivity ratios, however, reveals quite the contrary!

In the process a research study conducted revealed certain factors that keep people at the workplace for extended hours. Let us call them ‘motivators’ which we are deliberating below:

E-mail: Many employees spend most of their workday on email. Colleagues comment that they have cleared 150 mails from ‘Inbox’ today, expecting sympathy. What we choose to ignore here is that that email is an efficient communication tool, and not a substitute for work.

Internet: Browsing through recommended or ‘googled’ web-links and online trading and tracking of investment portfolios is another attraction during the workday. One now wonders how employees pretended to be busy before the advent of computers.

Gossip: While gossip is normally associated with women, men provide serious competition when it comes to workplace related gossip. Hot topics include the boss, his/her favorites and the newest pretty young tease in the block.

Impress the Boss: Insecure employees may be reluctant to be the first to leave office. Many also believe that being the last to leave reinforces the ‘committed employee’ reputation. Equally, egoistic bosses may insist or expect subordinates to stay alongside them in office everyday. Overnight, late-staying stopped except in genuine cases, which were few and far between.

Hang out: Companies began investing in the fun@Work theme and hang out with work mates after hours. Free/subsidized meals and air-conditioned office spaces may make the option more appealing, compared to the uncomfortable 3 in 1 paying guest digs or crowded one room tenements that they have to return to. Some IT companies, which provide dormitory beds, shower facilities and television sets, find that a cross section of employees rarely leave the campus! In many cases, the habitual late-sitter may start leaving the workplace on time upon getting married, without a perceptible dip in performed.

Free Downloads: Bandwidth connectivity provides heavier video and music downloads, online shopping and surfing, leading to both savings both in time and cyber cafe charges.

It needs to be clarified that these ‘motivators’ apply to ‘peace’ times. However, if the war continues through the year, then it calls for serious soul searching, lest we run the risk of premature burnout.

The above, ‘motivators’ theory is not applicable to all the employees but only a few. In other cases Indian professionals put on genuine efforts for career growth.

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