Tech founder Narayana Murthy has made a controversial call for Indian employees to work a 70-hour work week, citing the need for increased productivity and national pride. Murthy, who started Infosys in 1981 and took advantage of Western companies outsourcing IT operations to India, suggests that low productivity is hindering India’s progress and points to the postwar rebuilding efforts of Germany and Japan as examples to follow.
Infosys, currently valued at $68 billion with $18 billion in revenue last year, has become one of India’s biggest tech success stories. However, a report by Slack and Qualtrics reveals that Indian workers spend roughly 43% of their time engaged in performative work, indicating a lack of efficiency.
Murthy’s comments have sparked a heated online debate among business leaders and ordinary Indians, with some expressing support for a longer work week. Bhavish Aggarwal, founder of Indian ridesharing company Ola, is among those who back Murthy’s call for increased work hours.
However, the tech founder’s push for longer working hours is also facing criticism, particularly in the context of ongoing discussions about work-life balance. Many argue that excessive work hours can lead to burnout and negatively impact employees’ mental and physical health.
Interestingly, the trend of younger workers in China rejecting long working hours and the concept of “hustle culture” can also be observed in the US and Europe. A growing number of individuals are prioritizing work-life balance and seeking alternative ways to achieve success.
It remains to be seen whether Murthy’s call for a 70-hour work week will gain traction in India. As the debate continues, both sides will need to carefully consider the potential consequences and whether long working hours are truly the solution to India’s productivity challenges.
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