Infosys founder Narayana Murthy triggered a nationwide debate by advocating 70 hours work week for Indians in order to compete with the global economies. However, a recent data showed that IT employees are already working for around 45-50 hours per week, which means 10 hours a day in the 5 day work week, against the standard of 40 hours per week, as majority of them have to work for longer hours to meet the deadlines.

Over the past five fiscal years, the productivity spent on compensation has been stagnant, leading to stagnant productivity. According to a report by a staffing company Xpheno, for every ₹1 spent on talent expense, revenue return has remained stagnant at ₹1.8-1.9, as per the report. The constant 1:1.8 ratio of people cost to revenue productivity indicates a parallel increase in the cost of people.

The industry’s focus has been on the number of hours worked instead of measuring overall productivity which includes physical and mental health of the employees. It needs reevaluation zeroing in on a balanced work environment. Productivity of the IT industry is usually measured through revenue generated per employee also called ‘revenue per employee’.

As per report, the aggregate revenue per employee for TCS, Wipro and HCLTech saw a decline of 3.8%-11% on the basis of a five-year compound annual growth rate(CAGR), Infosys and TechMahindra show a slight increase of 2.6% and 5.6% respectively.

The Indian IT industry encountered 58% of the workforce reporting an average to poor work-life balance, higher than the global average of 40%, as per report. All this is happening, when the sector is witnessing one of its slowest growth this fiscal year, leading to curb fresh hiring across the IT sector.

While Indian culture glorifies hard work, employees voice excessive working hours hindering their problem solving abilities. The strain from long working hours alongside lengthy commute, infrastructural challenges and work stress leads to fatigue consequently impeding overall productivity.

Since the pandemic, a major part of the productivity increase is attributed to the surge in demand for the tech services which has led to a need to reassess the productivity instead of calculating the hours worked. As remote work gained momentum, there’s an enormous need to have a restructured approach to measure employee output.

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