The pandemic shook the work-life balance every individual had carefully curated for themselves, it’s true when we believe our happiness depends on balancing the two elements. For a lot of people, the lockdown and work from home was bliss, saving hours on commuting and being able to spend time with their family. What could be better than earning while sitting at your favorite spots at home?
But just when everyone seemed to get used to the new norms, the lockdown was lifted and the 9-5 workers were back in their chairs. Of course, not everybody liked the change after having such laidback work life in the past few months. India and specifically Mumbai- the tech hub has always been bustling with crowds rushing to work. The central government is all set to bring in four-day workweek rules and implement labor code on wages, social security, industrial relations, occupation safety, health, and working conditions. As per reports, the Centre has already finalized the rules under these codes and now states are required to frame regulations on their part as labor is a concurrent subject.
Source – hr Katha
The new work rules would do a lot of good to our mental, emotional, and physical selves. There are so many employees who work multiple jobs and hence do not get their weekends off, paid holidays are a thing only in some companies, whereas working overtime is very normal for them. All of this causes multiple effects on their personal as well as professional relations which seeps into their end results.
According to this, employees will be having a three-day leave each week while working the other four. Besides the days, take-home salary and working hours will also be changing from the next fiscal year of 2022- 2023. It is about time India catch up to the working conditions in various countries. There is evidence that this type of work schedule increases productivity and reduces costs associated with burnout, stress, absenteeism, turnover, and related employee challenges.
Source – Employee benefit news
In 2019, Microsoft tested a four-day workweek through a “Work-Life Choice Challenge 2019 Summer” in Japan, with employees given five Fridays off with no pay cut. The company wanted to see if giving employees flexible work style choices to “work in a short time, take a good rest and learn well,” would boost productivity and creativity. Microsoft reported that productivity, or sales per employee, climbed by nearly 40 percent in August 2019 compared with the previous year, although the company indicated other factors had contributed. Power consumption fell by 23 percent, and more than 90 percent of workers liked the change, Microsoft said.
If a company as big as Microsoft believes and is ready to implement change if it betters employees and the overall profits they gain, then I do believe making changes like these are worthy. However, there is also a point of making them have a 12-hour workday, thrice a week. Having to work this many hours every single day will also start taking a toll on their body resulting in a different set of problems. While the pros of the change should ideally overpower the con’s in situations like these, the ones who will be suffering should be given a choice.
Shifting from 9 hours to 12 hours would have negative implications as well since not everybody has the stamina for it, there are chances of compensating other relations, missing deadlines, etc. Some positive’s would include reduction in carbon footprint, company expenses also reduce, teams will be motivated to work as there will be less time to waste on conflicts.
Source – Koppr
There are of course alternate options like working on odd-even days, which would give them a break as well. Companies could also provide an option on choosing the days or hours while completing their 48- hour workweek norm. Looking at the larger perspective is of utmost importance which would be the country’s economic and financial growth whilst managing their employees too.
I personally believe giving an option of an odd-even workday would be a win-win situation for both the employee and employer. It is very important to also keep in mind the after-effects of the pandemic on everyone’s health. People have seen a shift in their priorities, be it their family or personal health. They are now more aware of the bigger picture and conscious about the smaller things too.
All these changes should be made gradually easing them in, a sudden change will only shake their routine. The working class faces a lot of financial management issues and depends on paycheck more often than others. There are job roles to be considered as well like a bus driver or postman cannot work extra hours to be able to afford an off next week. A happy worker will always be more productive than an overworked employee. In my opinion, it will be completely pointless to have a three-day weekend if companies cannot manage to schedule and utilize the remaining four days effectively.
As a country our work culture needs to change immediately. It is high time we stop glorifying long-working hours and no work-life balance. There is an immediate need to learn to differentiate between work and personal life, to be able to leave work at work. When you bring that home, no three-day weekend will also be able to help you.
Written by- Jinal S Mehta
Edited by- Aditi Agarwal
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