Today, I have the pleasure of hosting my blogger friend, Rahul Bhatia, on my blog. Rahul has been a navy man and has practically traveled around the globe. He is simple, down to earth and blogs about issues of relevance to all of us. I especially enjoy his travelogues. He blogs at Rahul’s blogs and collections. Over to him
The boss is staying back till 10 PM. I also have to stay even though I don’t have anything that can’t wait till tomorrow. How many of us face this situation regularly?
I am sure this dilemma is faced by most Indians in their work environment no matter where they work. Each of us is reluctant to leave the office at the designated hour, lest it may be construed as not caring enough for work or not working enough! In my long years of work, this is one thing I noticed irrespective of the place of work.
Many years back, I worked in the Navy, and the kind of work we did was totally different and so was the work environment. One thing I can safely say is that in those places, whether in the field or at office, the seniors always stayed with the team and did not delegate the work to the junior to be done individually. If we were sailing on the high seas, the Captain would be perched on the bridge the entire day, and sleep in a cabin adjacent to the bridge. He continued to drop in at odd hours on the bridge while the rest of the team slogged in the engine room and manned other vital equipment.
During the training period too, the officers accompanied the trainees in the tedious exercises involving a lot of manual effort. The beauty of the time spent and the experiences gained in serving at different places and working odd hours is very difficult to express. While serving in Goa, for a period of six months, our timings changed from 5.45 AM to 12.45 PM in view of the runway extension being undertaken at the airport! So, I would reach the Briefing Room in the wee hours to brief the pilots flying assorted aircraft during the day. On board the ship, it was almost a 24X7 routine during the sailing period of the ship.
Once I came to the Headquarters in Delhi, the routine was more like normal office hours! To my utter surprise, some of my counterparts preferred to stay back after working hours; whereas, I would pack up and leave unless there was a reason to stay back or an important meeting. The seniors would be busy in the meetings during the day, so they would catch up with their own work in the later hours. What prompted the sycophants to stay on is anyone’s guess. This prompts me to remember the famous Peter’s Principle that, “People rise in the organization to their level of incompetence.”
When visiting many public offices, I found people merrily chatting and indulging in gossip instead of attending to the customer. Some women even brought their knitting to their work desks. Callous as it is, “public servants” care two hoots, as their jobs are secure.
I got an opportunity to rub shoulders with professionals globally and never found the phenomenon of sycophancy afflicting the large populace! Most of the people left the office as soon as they had finished the day’s work at the appointed hour! In Europe, it would be strange to find people in offices beyond lunch hour on Fridays as most leave to enjoy the weekend with their families and beloved. It is much the same in other countries in the USA, Gulf, Middle East, and SE Asia.
It is not as if the productivity increases by sticking around in the office beyond work hours for no apparent reason. This practice actually lowers productivity levels. Another crucial factor to remember is that a work-life balance is needed to keep the employee at optimum performance levels. If an employee is unhappy and unable to contribute time for home duties, the unhappiness and fatigue will likely spill over to the work performed. We should strive to fill in more work in the productive time.
I am reminded of C Northcote Parkinson who very aptly said, “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Do you find yourself being pushed to spending long hours at work? Do you really think you are more productive when you work long hours?
Pic courtesy: Freedigitalphotos.net