From long hours to better hours: Crafting a balanced workforce in India

| Updated: 08 November, 2023 1:59 pm IST

In recent times, the debate on work-life balance has taken centre stage, fuelled by NR Narayana Murthy’s advocacy of 70-hour workweeks, establishing his own history of dedicating 80-90 hours a week to building Infosys.

While it is essential to recognise dedication and hard work, it is equally important to examine the merits of stretching working hours further, particularly in the Indian context, where people already work long hours—12 hours per day, six days per week. This argues for a shift in perspective, focusing on the need for a better work environment, improved organisation, and enhanced skill development, rather than extending working hours.

First and foremost, it is essential to acknowledge that Indians are not strangers to long working hours. With many people already dedicating a substantial portion of their day to work, it is evident that the issue lies beyond the number of hours spent at the workplace. Instead, the focus should be on making these hours more productive, efficient, and fulfilling.

One crucial aspect to address is the work environment itself. Creating a conducive and healthy workplace is essential to ensure that the hours spent at work are meaningful. A positive work environment not only enhances morale but also enhances productivity, creativity, and overall job satisfaction. This approach fosters a workplace that values employee well-being and nurtures their potential.

Furthermore, a greater emphasis on organisation and time management is essential. By implementing efficient processes, setting clear objectives, and using technology to streamline tasks, we can ensure that the work completed in a regular eight-hour day is as productive as possible. This not only enhances the quality of work but also reduces the amount of time for employees to invest in their personal lives, thus enhancing overall work-life balance.

Skill development constitutes another vital element. In a swiftly changing employment landscape, ongoing education and the improvement of skills are crucial. Employers should allocate resources to provide training and advancement prospects for their employees, facilitating their adjustment to shifting industry trends. A multifaceted staff member not only positively impacts organisational progress but also bolsters individual advantages concerning career advancement and job stability.

Advocating for longer hours may not be the solution to the challenges of modern work-life balance in India. Instead, the focus should be on capacity building, creating a conducive work environment, improving organisation, and engaging in skill development. This approach will lead to a more fulfilling and balanced workforce, fostering not only personal growth but also the overall progress of the country. It is time to prioritise the quality of hours performed over the quantity and move towards a more sustainable and healthier workplace.


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