Beyond the Clock: The Dilemma of Indian IT’s Extended Work Hours

In the dynamic landscape of Indian IT, a troubling trend has come to light: IT professionals are putting in an average of 45 to 50 hours per week, a figure more than double the industry average. What started as office chatter has now become a widespread industry conversation, with Infosys founder Narayana Murthy advocating for an astonishing 70-hour workweek.

The Unveiling of Extended Work Hours

The revelation of IT workers dedicating 45 to 50 hours per week has sparked significant concern within the industry. The pressure to meet project deadlines has been identified as a major driver behind the prolonged working hours. What’s more, industry insiders suggest that the issue goes beyond mere work hours; it delves into the complexities of workplace infrastructure, lengthy commutes, and heightened job stress.

Beyond the Clock: Questioning True Productivity

Critics argue that the emphasis on tracking hourly work may not necessarily correlate with true productivity. While the workforce is putting in longer hours, the overall productivity per rupee spent on employee remuneration remains stagnant, despite a five-year surge in revenue.

Stagnant Productivity Metrics: The Puzzle Unraveled

Major players in the industry, including TCS, Infosys, HCLTech, Wipro, TechMahindra, LTIMindtree, and Mphasis, have reported a consistent people cost to revenue productivity ratio. This ratio has stabilized at Rs 1.8 to Rs 1.9 for every rupee spent on talent costs. The concurrent increase in people costs has led to a persistent loop, hindering substantial growth in per-person productivity.

Revenue Per Employee Challenges

A five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) analysis reveals that revenue per employee is declining for TCS, Wipro, and HCLTech, plummeting by 3.8% to 11%. In contrast, Infosys and Tech Mahindra exhibit more modest increases of 2.6% and 5.6%, respectively. This data underscores the industry’s struggle with slow growth, minimal hiring, and negligible salary increases.

Call for Change: Balancing Growth and Well-Being

As the industry grapples with these challenges, there is a growing consensus for change. Beyond the numbers, the call is for a cultural shift that places a premium on worker well-being and holistic productivity, transcending the mere tracking of hours worked.

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