It was 2:30 in the afternoon, I decided to take a short walk outside the office and found scores of other employees just walking around after lunch. A few were taking their regular strolls, a few others were catching a smoke break, others just sitting and chitchatting. One thing that I could see on their faces, was a slight hint of boredom which sometimes extended to an agitated frown. Some of them were yawning too, with huge coffee cups in their hands, trying to stay awake for the next 4 hours.
They were not just tired, they were exhausted.
In a rapidly growing economy like India, the boom in IT and corporate sector has resulted in not only mushrooming of skilled/unskilled jobs, it has also brought about a huge shift in the working culture. In contrast to the hitherto stagnant public sector institutions and government organizations, these companies brought with them a culture of growth, and upscaling. It provided a young workforce with huge opportunities to prove themselves, and they lapped it up with full gusto and pride. In the past few years, India has become one of the greatest hubs of service sector boom which has resulted in a huge leap for the International companies.
Where am I going with this?
I am going to the scary place which no one wants to talk about. I am going to talk about a revamp in the work culture of “well-known, multinational, present in more than 150 countries et cetera” kind of companies. The regular work hours of most of these companies ranges between 8.5 to 9 hours. It is either 9 to 6, or 8 to 5. And what if I told you that you are living only 50% of your life?
Whole NINE hours.
That is more than 1/3rd of a 24-hour-long day. Once you include the traveling time and time spent on office related work, it easily touches half of your entire day. There you go. That’s your 50%. And this whole idea of putting people on an assembly line where they put their brains at work, clock in at 9 and clock out at 6, is making them not assets but a ticking time bomb of human population which can go off at any time and take everyone else into a deep plunge of depression (which has already started happening, by the way).
In Japan, taking naps between work-hours is often considered a positive sign that the employee is working hard. In India, where most of the populace working in the corporate sector wakes up at 6 am and goes to bed not before 11 pm on an average, the idea of taking a nap between work can prove to be a wonderful idea to make people feel refreshed and rejuvenated for the rest of the afternoon. Cutting down on official workhours is still a far cry in Indian scenario, but the least that can be done is to allow people to catch a break without feeling guilty for it. Who knows it might turn out to be the next big change that the corporate sector needs?
PS. If you’re reading this, Boss, can I go take a nap?
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