Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Increasing working hours in IT

This, from an article which appeared in rediff about IT companies increasing their working hours from 8 to 10.  

"The IT industry in India still follows the best practices it had introduced earlier. But this does not mean employees will work less. If they are being asked to stick to duty hours, this will increase the productivity," explained Infosys Technologies HR head TV Mohandas Pai.

"Besides," he added, "they are also being paid well to work hard. These are difficult times and if they don't work hard then there will not be any industry left in coming days."

Reminded me of the project manager I had earlier in life. He used to give the following argument to team members to work longer hours and to show up at work on Saturdays. “You are young, and now is the time to make a career. If you do not work longer hours now, when will you make a career for yourself”

Sure enough, there were many who worked longer hours. However, this did not necessarily lead to a productivity increase. In fact, my hunch is that, all these arguments had an inverse correlation with productivity.

Sorry, Mr Pai, but Infosys has been making 30% EBITDA margins. IT industry would not fold if your IT margins come down to 25%. Of course your investors would raise hell for you. But that does not mean you can get away with anything to please them. 

Now striving for better performance is prudent. However, why is is that we wake up only under pressure. Anyways, I have great respect for Infosys and their top team but this is not what I expected from a seasoned industry leader. He sounds like a heckled HR person who has not clue what to do. 

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