Sunday, December 7, 2014

What's wrong with corporate India ?

With a smart, young and skilled workforce, India has definitely caught attention in corporates globally with special recognition in the Information Technology(IT) industry. Our Prime Minister has proudly referred to this in many of his speeches across the world. What surprises me is the accepted work culture in most of these organizations across the country.

Indian corporations take pride in operating 24x7 with an energetic set of people available to offer their expertise at almost any hour of the day through the week. I respect the dedication of my fellow country folks and the brand value they are bringing to the country but are we missing a crucial aspect ?  Yes! I am talking about the so called work-life balance. I have had so many conversations with friends and family who work in many of these organizations in India and am yet to find a good logical explanation of why there is this insanity about working 12 hour days and having a working weekend is totally acceptable.

The shocking answer that I have mostly heard is "I have to work over the weekend because everyone else in my team is working". So what I infer from this is we are our own enemies. We are mass propagating this disease of putting hours into work instead of putting work into our hours. What happened to efficiency ?

There have been others which sound like "I have too much work and my boss needs me to finish it by Monday". To this, I really am starting to question the whole concept of assigning work. How on earth did you end up in this situation ? Where are your rights to tell your boss what you can do and what you cannot ?

I know this is all easier said than done. You might lose your job or get a bad review at the end of the year if you don't work as many hours/weekends as your colleagues but honestly, what exactly are you getting from such a job ? And this takes me to the so called root cause of all of this - Money ! I understand ours is a developing country and people need to earn to survive in tough economic circumstances and to support their families. And my dear friends, the answer to this is the most important reason why I am forced to write this.
What we are not realizing is that to earn money we are staking our health and well being. By risking your own life, you are not going to be able to support your families for long. The recent unfortunate incident of Ranjan Das should at least serve as a wake up call to corporate India.

I am not asking you to be less passionate about your jobs or take the hard work out of it. Let's just try to make it a healthier environment for ourselves and our fellow workers. If you are a boss, stop asking people to work on weekends or judge them by the hours they put. Dig deeper, look into the quality of work they bring to the table. Respect their time, their health and their lives in general. If you work for someone, make sure you accept work you can attain in a week instead of killing yourself over the weekend...It is called week-"end" for a reason !

All I am asking is question the next time you are in a meeting where work is being planned for weekends or week nights. Raise your voice and question the system even if it means taking a few setbacks. I assure you it is not going to be easy but it will be so worth it in the long run. We need to change this madness and the race we are running against our own people. No political leader will be able to mandate it - it is the change only you as part of the culture can bring in.