Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys, sparked a nationwide debate when he proposed a 70-hour work week as a measure to compete with global economies. However, recent data reveals that IT employees are presently working an average of 45-50 hours per week. This translates to 10 hours a day in a standard 5-day work week, exceeding the conventional 40-hour work week.
The majority of IT professionals are compelled to extend their working hours to meet tight deadlines, shedding light on the challenges they face in maintaining a work-life balance.
Over the last five fiscal years, the productivity spent on compensation has remained unchanged, resulting in stagnant overall productivity. A report from staffing company Xpheno reveals that for every ₹1 spent on talent expenses, the revenue return has consistently stayed within the ₹1.8-1.9 range. The consistent 1:1.8 ratio between people cost and revenue productivity suggests a concurrent rise in the cost of human resources.
The industry has predominantly emphasised the quantity of work hours rather than assessing comprehensive productivity, encompassing both the physical and mental well-being of employees. There is a necessity for a reassessment that prioritises achieving a balanced work environment. Typically, the productivity of the IT industry is gauged by the revenue generated per employee, commonly referred to as 'revenue per employee.'
According to the report, the combined revenue per employee for TCS, Wipro, and HCLTech experienced a decline ranging from 3.8% to 11%, based on a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR). In contrast, Infosys and TechMahindra showed a slight increase of 2.6% and 5.6%, respectively.
The report also highlights a significant challenge within the Indian IT industry, with 58% of the workforce reporting an average to poor work-life balance, surpassing the global average of 40%. This scenario unfolds amid one of the slowest growth periods for the sector this fiscal year, leading to a reduction in fresh hiring across the IT industry.
Despite the cultural emphasis on hard work in India, employees are expressing concerns about excessive working hours impacting their problem-solving abilities. The combination of prolonged work hours, extended commutes, infrastructural challenges, and work-related stress contributes to fatigue, ultimately hindering overall productivity.
The pandemic has played a significant role in boosting productivity, particularly in the tech services sector. This surge in demand necessitates a shift in how productivity is evaluated, moving away from a focus solely on hours worked. With the rise of remote work, there is a compelling need for a restructured approach to measure employee output.