Finding the right work-life balance is quite tricky if you are living in an IT hub like Bengaluru. However, Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon.com Inc.'s India business, wants his employees to "log off and get a life."
In an internal memo to his team this month, the senior vice president of Amazon has advised his colleagues to refrain from responding to work emails between 6 pm and 8 am to maintain a healthy "work-life balance". Previously, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had also talked about the same issue and coined the term "work-life harmony".
According to a report by Bloomberg, the memo throws light on India's dismal state of the IT industry where one is expected to slog the entire day and then complete the remaining work from home.
Work-life balance is a considerably new concept in India where the masses have been used to working more than 60 hours per week. Indians work around 2,195 hours on an average every year, far above the 1,473 hours a year in Hamburg, the city that ranked among the top three for work-life balance, which means an even split between working and non-working hours.
Indeed, five of India's biggest cities - Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi - rank extremely low when it comes to work-life balance, according to a recent study of 100 cities around the world by Amsterdam-based consultancy Arcadis.
The leaked note has created quite a stir among the sloggers in Bangalore and set off discussions on social media. Bengaluru, which is one of India's biggest IT hubs, employs a significant portion of the one million workers in the outsourcing business catering to global customers. It ranges from American to European clients and often involves working late into the night. It's worse for start-ups that expect one to pitch in on weekends as well. For many, there is only one life and that's work life.
Psychologists, sleep laboratories and fertility clinics have raised serious concerns over the mental and physical pressure that such work schedules bring along. "Insomnia, depression and suicidal tendencies are rampant symptoms. These days I see many 25- and 28-year-olds suffering heart attacks, something I haven't seen in my four decades in this field," Dr S Kalyanasundaram, a well-known psychiatrist, was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Amit Agarwal may have mooted an inspiring idea but it may be harder to implement given the current work scenario in the country. Employees live in constant fear of being replaced if they cannot keep up with the pressure. If adapted, this idea will surely bring about a radical change in the work-life situation in India.