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Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Is long hours seeing an end in India?

Americans get two weeks of leave on an average; Europeans get six. Most Indian companies allow 28 days of leave; but I believe employees end up taking a maximum of two weeks.

Have the last three years of respectable economic growth changed work habits in India? A couple of years back, any friend of mine would boast of how he worked on company tasks all throughout the weekend. Such people still outnumber those who claim they didn’t work over the weekend; but things have definitely changed. What has brought about this change? May be the following:

1) The weekend non-workers have effectively managed to launch a two-pronged attack against weekend-workers. They have quite successfully linked continuously long working hours with lack of productivity and smart-thinking. Their argument is that if a person consistently works long hours, then he is getting exploited by his company. And such a person who can let himself get exploited, can hardly claim to have the intelligence required to make smart decisions for his organization. They have also made working on weekends sound so uncool. Shoulder drooping sloggers have found themselves hopelessly out of place in long Monday morning discussions about that film, that beach, that tennis game and that dining place.

2) Increased foreign experiences of Indian workers have also led to greater awareness about better uses of weekend and after-office time. Even in work-hungry America, weekends are fairly sacrosanct; Indians are starting to realize that.

3) Women as a whole are head-strong in our society. They have upped their ante considerably and demand time from their husbands. Increasing rate of divorces also provide strong deterrence to husbands to give more eyeballs to excels than

4) One of the most significant contributors to longer working hours is the bachelor population. However changing company policies like switching off Aircon after 6; no free or discounted food after 8pm, no claimable expenses for travel from office to home after 8pm, and strong internet firewall policies have meant that there are much reduced incentives for bachelors to stay back.

Is this a virtuous-vicious cycle? Seems like. After all, we claim to be the country with saints who sat for years in inactivity (some say praying) and were aptly rewarded for those lazy sessions.

2 comments:

coolant said...

Bachelors ....
Yeah, I've seen such bachelors, and the niche they have carved for themselves. Yuck.

Anyways, things definitely seem to be on right course, and in some time, future, might get eradicated from the Indian IT industry.

rajeev said...

Hi,

Nice blog!

Why don’t you consider writing about some of the new “India 2.0” sites that are creating a little buzz as well?

Eg: www.ilaaka.com

www.onyomo.com

Thanks!

Rajeev